List the Giant Triton (Charonia tritonis) on CITES
Starfish - Predator or Prey
The attack of the triton elicits an escape response by the starfish which, if successful, results in rapid prey dispersion with the loss of only a few arms. The escape response varies in its successfulness and is heavily dependent on (1) size and hunger of predator, (2) prey size and degree of cumulative prey injury and (3) physical composition and relief of substrate. If the escape response is unsuccessful then the predator feeds on the starfish until the prey is either consumed (large predator-small prey) or discarded (small predator-large prey). Charonia tritonis will follow the scent of an injured starfish and resume the attack and subsequent feeding if hungry.
When either one of the two sensory tentacles of Charonia has touched the spine of a large specimen of Acanthaster, the gastropod raises the anterior region of the foot sufficiently high above the substrate to allow it to pass over the spines of the closest three arms of the starfish. When this has occurred, the proboscis of the gastropod is extended and as the foot descends on the aboral surface of the starfish, the proboscis probes the surface between the spines, in an orderly manner, and subsequently extends in excess of 250mm as it reaches over the aboral surface and back under the oral surface while the proboscis tip attempts to penetrate the heavily armoured mouth of the starfish. This is achieved by a combination of physical radula abraision and chemical attack.
- CITES regarding the Giant Triton (Charonia tritonis).
The Director, Wildlife Trade Regulation Section, Department of the Environment
As a community we have ignored or down-played the role of predators in ecology for far too long. Is it because we humans are responsible for their declining numbers not just by hunting for food as predators do but for trophies?
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