The predatory Horse Conch can grow to 24 inches long in the marine waters around Florida. The largest gastropod in American waters, the shell is popular among collectors because of its great size.


Horse Conch (Triplofusus giganteus)
From Florida, mid-20th century

Florida State Shell


Invertebrate Zoology


Florida’s state shell is the Horse Conch, Triplofusus giganteus. This enormous saltwater snail has a shell that can grow up to 2 feet in length making it the largest living snail in North America and the second-largest snail in the world. Horse Conchs capture and smother their prey with their bright orange-red foot. They feed on other snails like Lightning Whelks and Tulip Snails, many of which are also large predatory snails. Horse Conchs are common in shallow waters from North Carolina to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The thick and sturdy shell of this snail was an important commodity and was fashioned into a variety of tools by Native Americans in what is now the Southeastern U.S. and Mexico.

John Slapcinsky
Collection Manager, Invertebrates*
Florida Museum of Natural History


On display Sept. 23, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018, Rare, Beautiful & Fascinating: 100 Years @FloridaMuseum celebrated the Museum’s rich history. Each Museum collection was asked to contribute its most interesting items and share the stories that make them special. Though the physical exhibit is closed, this companion website remains online, providing an opportunity to experience the Florida Museum’s most treasured specimens.

Exhibit Area: 100 Years of History

Theme: Sunshine State Symbols

Cover of the All Things Beautiful bookWant to see more? Explore more than 300 breathtaking color photos of plants, animals, fossils and cultural heritage materials from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s collections in the award-winning book All Things Beautiful available from the University Press of Florida.

*This title was accurate at the time the exhibit was on display in 2017. Please visit the collection website to verify current staff and student information.

You Might Also Like