The Giant Triton: List the Giant Triton in Appendix 2 of CITES
While the giant triton may be protected on the Great Barrier Reef and elsewhere in Queensland, there is still no evidence this protection has resulted in restored populations of the giant triton. However, there is evidence of continuing illegal collection and trade in Indonesia where it is also legally protected.
It is now worth reconsidering whether the existing local protection is sufficient or whether further international protection is required by listing the Giant Triton in Appendix 2 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The giant triton (Charonia tritonis)is a beautiful shell and a well-known predator of the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci). In many parts of the third world, it is still being collected in large numbers and sold to tourists as ornaments. As you admire the beautiful shell, spare a thought for the hungry mollusc that died. And don’t forget, they live on starfish.
Many species of starfish are known to outbreak in different parts of the world. Prior to human collection, the giant triton might have controlled starfish numbers not by eating the many, but by preventing the aggregation that precedes the outbreak. At present, little is known of any aspect of the triton’s ecology despite its obvious importance in controlling starfish numbers.