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Charonia lampas capax

Charonia lampas capax the knobbed triton, is a subspecies of very large predatory sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Ranellidae, the tritons.

Also see Charonia or Triton (mollusc).


This subspecies is endemic to New Zealand; it is much more common in the north of the country.


This large triton is found from low tide to depths of 145 m.

Shell description

Charonia lampas capax has a large and solid shell, sculptured with two spiral series of prominent nodules, one peripheral, and many narrower cords of varying strength: weak to obsolete over the nodules. The outer lip is thickened and strongly indented. The inner lip has one strong parietel fold and a series of lesser foldings towards the anterior end.

The shell colour varies from white in deep-water shells, to strongly maculated in dark reddish-brown in shallow water shells. The aperture is white within, the labial varix with radial bars of brown. The periostracum is yellowish-brown. The operculum is large, thick, dark brown, elliptical, and with a terminal nucleus.

The maximum shell height is 24 cm, and the maximum width is 13 cm.

Human use

The empty shell was used by Māori as a trumpet, known as a putatara, until the arrival of Europeans.


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