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Florida State Shell

Horse Conch

Florida State Shell - Horse Conch

(Triplofusus giganteus,) previously known as (Pleuroploca gigantea)

Adopted in 1969

The horse conch, (Pleuroploca gigantea,) the horse conch, also known as the giant band shell. This shell is native to the marine waters around Florida and can grow to a length of 24". Young shells have orange color; adult shells have orange apertures. The shell is the external skeleton of a soft-bodied animal that inhabits it. The word "conch" comes from the Greek word meaning "shell." The horse conch has been Florida's official state shell since 1969.

At least 535 million years ago, mollusks acquired the ability to secrete a carbonate of lime solution that formed a hard, protective shell around them. The word "conch" comes from a Greek word meaning "shell."

Florida State Shell: Horse Conch

Florida State Shell - Horse Conch

Triplofusus giganteus, previously known as Pleuroploca gigantea, common name the Florida horse conch, is a species of extremely large predatory subtropical and tropical sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Fasciolariidae, the spindle snails, tulip snails and their allies

Geographic Range

These are marine animals and are found from North Carolina to Florida and into Mexico.

Biogeographic Regions:

nearctic (native ); atlantic ocean (native ).


The Florida horse conch lives among the sand and weeds in the shallow marine waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Aquatic Biomes:

coastal .

Physical Description

The Florida horse conch is the largest snail to be found in the American waters, sometimes reaching a length of two feet. It has ten whorls, and its shoulders bear large, low nodules. The operculum is a leathery brown color, the aperture is orange, and the animal itself is brick red in color.


Reproduction is sexual. The female attaches capsule-like structures to rock or old shell. Each capsule contains several dozen eggs for the young snails to feed upon. The capsule contains 5-6 circular rims, and they are laid in clumps. The young emerge and are an orange color, approximately 3.5 inches in diameter.


Florida horse conchs are usually solitary creatures.

Food Habits

The Florida horse conch are carnivores that feed on bivalves and other snails.

Florida Law

The law designating the horse conchas the official Florida state shell is found in the Florida Revised Statutes, Title 2, Chapter 15, Section 15.033

SECTION 15.033

15.033 State shell.--The horse conch, which is also known as Pleuroploca gigantea, and sometimes as the giant band shell, a shell native to the marine waters surrounding the State of Florida, is hereby designated as the Florida state shell.
History.--s. 1, ch. 69-107.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Horse Conch

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
                   clade Hypsogastropoda
                   clade Neogastropoda
Superfamily: Buccinoidea
    Family: Fasciolariidae
Genus: Triplofusus
Species: T. giganteus
Synonyms: Pleuroploca gigantea Kiener, 1840

State Shells
State Shells
A seashell or sea shell, also known simply as a shell, is a hard, protective outer layer created by an animal that lives in the sea. The shell is part of the body of the animal. Empty seashells are often found washed up on beaches by beachcombers. The shells are empty because the animal has died and the soft parts have been eaten by another animal or have rotted out.
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