Overview

Comprehensive Description

Summary

"Cassis cornuta, commonly called the Horned Helmet, is an extremely large sea snail distributed in the Indo pacific region."
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Physical Description

Morphology

"The largest of all helmet shells, this species has a very solid, heavy, rotund shell with large, horn-like knobs and a wide, flat base. Dorsally pale orange, base vivid orange, faintly marked with white and brown (Richmond, 1997)."
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Size

Size: upto 35cm.
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Diagnostic Description

Description

The largest of all helmet shells, ;up to 35 cm. A very solid, heavy, rotund shell with large, horn-like knobs and a wide, flat base. Dorsally pale orange, base vivid orange, faintly marked with white and brown. Habitat: sand and coral rubble, often around reefs. Distribution: Indo-Pacific. (Richmond, 1997).
  • Dautzenberg, Ph. (1929). Contribution à l'étude de la faune de Madagascar: Mollusca marina testacea. Faune des colonies françaises, III(fasc. 4). Société d'Editions géographiques, maritimes et coloniales: Paris. 321-636, plates IV-VII pp.
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Description

The largest of all helmet shells, ;up to 35 cm. A very solid, heavy, rotund shell with large, horn-like knobs and a wide, flat base. Dorsally pale orange, base vivid orange, faintly marked with white and brown. Habitat: sand and coral rubble, often around reefs. Distribution: Indo-Pacific. (Richmond, 1997).
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Ecology

Habitat

General Habitat

"Marine: Sand and coral rubble, often around reefs."
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Trophic Strategy

"Feeds on Acanthaster planci, a starfish that feeds on corals."
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Not Evaluated by IUCN Redlist.
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Threats

"The major threat to this species is from over-exploitation by humans for collections, consumption and sale as decorative pieces."
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Legislation

Global - Listed in CITES: No. Protected in Queensland. Indian - Listed in Wildlife (Protection) Act: Yes. Schedule: 1 Appendix: Part IV(B) Mollusca
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

"The shell is a popular collector's item. In some places, the snail is hunted for its meat. In India, it is normally sold as a souvenir or decoration piece."
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Risks

Risk Statement

"By feeding on Acanthaster planci that feeds on corals, good numbers of this snail species help maintain the health of coral reefs. Excessive trade and therefore depletion of these snails may have harmful effects on coral reefs in the snail's range."
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Wikipedia

Cassis cornuta

Cassis cornuta, common name the horned helmet, is a species of extremely large sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Cassidae, the helmet shells and their allies.[1]

Description[edit]

The length of the shell varies between 50 mm and 410 mm. It is the largest of all helmet shells. It has a very solid, heavy, rotund shell with large, horn-like knobs and a wide, flat base. The shell has a dorsally pale orange colour, its base vivid orange, faintly marked with white and brown.[1]

Habitat[edit]

This large sea snail is found on sand and coral rubble, often around reefs.

Distribution[edit]

This species occurs in the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, off the southern African coast from northern KwaZulu-Natal and from Mozambique,[2] as well as in the Pacific Ocean.

Relevance to humans[edit]

The shell of Cassis cornuta is a very popular collector's item. In some places the snail is hunted for meat and is traditionally roasted in the shell over fire. Because of both of these factors, humans are a major enemy, and the species is now at risk in many places. However, worldwide it is not listed in the Red List. Because this snail hunts the crown-of-thorns starfish, which feed on corals, Cassis cornuta has been put under strict protection in Queensland.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rosenberg, G. (2012). Cassis cornuta (Linnaeus, 1758). Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=208963 on 2012-11-25
  2. ^ Steyn, D.G. & Lussi, M. 2005. Offshore Shells of Southern Africa ISBN 0-620-33607-2
  • Rippingale, O.H. & McMichael, D.F., 1961. Queensland and Great Barrier Reef Shells. Jacaranda Press, Brisbane. 210 pp.
  • Abbott, R.T., 1968 [31/Dec/1968]. The helmet shells of the world (Cassidae). Part 1. Indo-Pacific Mollusca, 2(9):7-198.
  • Wilson, B. R. & Gillet, K., 1971. Australian Shells. A. H. & A. W. Reed, Sydney
  • Salvat, B. & Rives, C., 1975. Coquillages de Polynésie. les editions du pacifique, Papeete - Tahiti. 1-391.
  • Kay, E.A., 1979. Hawaiian marine shells. [Reef and shore fauna of Hawaii, Section 4: Mollusca. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Special Publication 64(4)]. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. xvii + 653 pp.
  • Wilson, B., 1993. Australian Marine Shells. Prosobranch Gastropods. Odyssey Publishing, Kallaroo, WA.
  • Kreipl, K., 1997. Recent Cassidae. Verlag Christa Hemman, Weisbaden. 1-151, pls 1-24.
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