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.
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.
Collection Manager, Invertebrates
Florida Museum of Natural History
Horse Conch (Triplofusus giganteus)
From Florida, mid-20th century
The Horse Conch is Florida’s State Shell