Triplofusus papillosus

The Horse Conch or scientifically called Triplofusus giganteus is a species of large marine snail and is found in shallow waters of the Atlantic coast of the United States of America and Mexico borders. Ranging from North Carolina to Florida, and all the way down to Mexico, It is one of the largest snails in American waters. Many people still think that snails are not predators and they don’t hunt, which is actually not true. Snails prey on other tiny water bodies for their survival and Horse conch is one of them.

You may be shocked to hear that, Horse conch even prey on other smaller snails like clams and lightning whelks. Horse conch uses its afoot as the ultimate weapon, using which it smothers its prey. At a young age, its shell is quite orange in color and as it gets older, the color of the whored shell starts turning more white or salmon. Due to their large size and bright colors, it is quite popular among collectors. During the early ages, Mayans and Native Americans used these shells in a variety of ways as cups for water, ink holders for scribes, and other interesting things.

Gastropods are a diverse group of animals having the capability of surviving on land, salt waters, fresh waters, etc. Horse conch belongs to a class of mollusks that are Gastropods too. They can grow up to 24 inches in salt waters. These are carnivorous by nature.

Triplofusus papillosus
Image Source: Flickr

The countdown starts…

1. It is the 2nd biggest conch shell in the world can grow up to 24 inches and weighs over 11 pounds!

Found in the ocean of Florida, off the Atlantic coast. They are giant in size found moving on the ocean bed searching for food. The giant horse conch weighs over 11 pounds that’s roughly 5kg.

2. Horse conches are fearless they feed on other big whelks.

They prey on other big snails found in the ocean like the tulip shell (Fasciolaria tulipa), the lightning whelk (Sinistrofulgur perversum), and the queen conch (Lobatus gigas). They swallow the whole snail into the siphon.

3. Both Horse conch egg casings and tulip conch egg casings look similar.

The only difference is the bigger horse conch egg casing and the small tulip conch egg casing. Another difference is the ridges present on the horse conch egg case.

Image Source: Flickr

4. Horse conch is also known as Florida horse conch.

It is Florida’s state shell, Triplofusus giganteus.

5. Horse conch has the capacity to retract the soft parts entirely into the shell and close it with the operculum.

The horse conch has orange soft parts which can be retracted entirely in the shell.

6. During the Maya civilization, the horse conch shell was used for holding paints due to its big size and beautiful structure.

7. Horse conch loves to dwell in very deep ocean water.

They can be found on the ocean bed about 20 feet deep hunting for prey.

8. Horse conchs can have more than 10 whorls on their shells.

9. The colors of young and adult horse conch shells are different.

At a young age, the color of the shell is orange and turns to grey, and brown as the age advances.

10. Horse conch was previously known as Pleuroploca gigantea


How much does a horse conch weigh?

The average weight of a horse conch is about 11 pounds. They can weigh even more.

How long does a horse conch live?

They can live as long as 30 years. But, the average lifespan is 7 years.

How does a horse conch eat?

They smother the prey using their big foot and then swallow the prey whole.

What does a horse conch look like?

Probably looks like a horse and that’s why got it’s name.

Is horse conch edible?

Yes, the horse conch is edible. Only the part above the foot which is covered in orange color skin is edible.

What does horse conch taste like?

Conch meat contains many vitamins, minerals, and cholesterol. It tastes chewy and salty.

How do you clean a horse conch?

Cleaning a horse conch is super easy. At first, make a hole at the 3rd whorl of the shell to release the pressure and then pull it out from the foot. Remove the orange skin and you will get white meat which can be chopped to add to a salad.

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