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  • José H. Leal

Shell of the Week: The Hairy Triton

Monoplex pilearis (Linnaeus, 1758) is a relatively common tropical western Atlantic species that is also present in the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans, including Polynesia and Hawaii. Hairy Tritons may reach 140 mm (5.5 inches) in some parts of its distribution. The long-lasting pelagic (open-water) larvae in the species allow for ocean crossing at the larval stage, one of the reasons for its broad geographical distribution. You can see the larval shell preserved as the protoconch (at the apex) of the shell in the illustration. The Hairy Triton is the most commonly found triton snail species along the East Coast of Florida.

The Hairy Triton, Monoplex pilearis, from Coral Cove, Florida. Photos by Patricia A. Starkey.


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