Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropoda > Ranellidae

Family: Ranellidae (Cymatiidae) --Tritons, Trumpets

Shells are variable in size and solidly constructed. They are often fancifully ornamented. The name, triton  refers to the widely flared lip and columellar fold, giving the shell a prominent flared opening. In fact, triton shells are sometimes still  used as musical trumpets. Many have blunt teeth or convex folds on the inside lip that extends to the wavy stout edge. Some tritons are closely similar to Murex Shells, but a distinctive difference is that no more than two varices are found on a whorl and those on adjacent whorls rarely connect.
The Ranellidae feed on other mollusks and sea urchins, and like many other carnivorous molluscs, they either spray or inject an cholinergic secretion in their saliva that paralyzes their prey (West et al., 1998). Cymatium genera then tear off bits of flesh with their radula. A few others, Argobuccinum for example, can liquefy the prey's flesh and suck it up with their proboscis (Beu, 1988).  
Because the free-swimming larval period is long in certain species, they are widely distributed in warm seas and the tropics. 
The former family, Cymatiidae, has been split into two families: Ranellidae (tritons) and Personidae ("Distorsios").
Class: Gastropoda
Clade: Littorinimorpha
Superfamily: Tonoidea
Family: Ranellidae 

Major Genera
  • Genus: Argobuccinum
  • Genus: Charonia
  • Genus: Cymatium
  • Genus: Fusitriton
  • Genus: Gyrineum

Charonia rubicunda
Charonia rubicunda (Perry, 1811)
Red Triton

Fusitriton_oregonense.JPG (40484 bytes)
Fusitriton oregonense (Redfield, 1848)
Oregon Triton


Ranellidae Photo 

Doug Segar and Elaine Stamman Segar, reefimages.com

Charonia tritonis
Triton's Trumpet


Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropods > Tritons