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Colubraria obscura

Colubraria obscurais commonly referred to as Obscure Dwarf Triton. Difficulty in the aquarium: Not suitable for aquarium keeping. Toxicity: Toxic hazard unknown.

Profilbild Urheber Scott & Jeanette Johnson, Kwajalein Unterwater

Foto: Kwajalein (Kwajalein Atoll), Marshallinseln

Courtesy of the author Scott & Jeanette Johnson, Kwajalein Unterwater Please visit for more information.

Uploaded by AndiV.

Image detail


Colubraria obscura 
Obscure Dwarf Triton 
Family tree:
Animalia (Kingdom) > Mollusca (Phylum) > Gastropoda (Class) > Neogastropoda (Order) > Colubrariidae (Family) > Colubraria (Genus) > obscura (Species) 
Initial determination:
(Reeve, ), 1844 
Sea depth:
8 - 50 Meter 
bis zu 4,9cm 
°C - 28,5°C 
Not suitable for aquarium keeping 
Not available as offspring 
Toxic hazard unknown 
Not evaluated 
Red List:
Not evaluated (NE) 
Related species at
Catalog of Life
Last edit:
2021-07-20 12:35:38 


Life is always about the old "game", eat and be eaten, or in other words, about the position in the food chain.
Nature has come up with the most unbelievable constellations for this purpose, a humpback whale swallows several hundred sardines or herrings in one go, prey is speared or culled with fishing tools (mantis shrimp), poisons are injected or even hard turtle shells are cracked by the teeth of tiger sharks.

Depending on the case, we feel this kind of preying sometimes natural and sometimes very sad.
A very special form of "prey making" comes to the dwarf triton horn Colubraria obscura, in this respect the max. 6cm large dwarf triton horn stands opposite the up to 40cm large ballhead parrotfish (Chlorurus sordidus), but the sheer size does not matter here.

Parrotfish sleep in caves or larger crevices and produce a slimy cocoon to protect themselves, which ends up enveloping the entire fish.
This creep may provide some protection from one predator or another, but the small dwarf triton does not bother the mucus envelope at all.

The shell snail approaches the sleeping fish and stretches out its long proboscis, which can grow up to an unbelievable 13cm long, and inserts it e.g. into the mouth of the parrotfish.

Please click on the link below "More Gastropods Feeding at Night on Parrotfishes" and take a close look at the photo on the left by Mark Strickland, USA. on page 225. The proboscis of one of the snails is brownish-pink in color, indicating the fluid that is being sucked out by the fish.
The dwarf triton snail is a very successful nocturnal "sea vampire" sucking blood and other body fluids.
The photo was taken around 8:30 pm around the Similan Islands, Thailand, Andaman Sea at 17 meters 17.

More great photos by Mark Strickland can be viewed here:

Synonym: Triton obscurus Reeve, 1844

External links

  1. Homepage Scott & Jeanette Johnson (en). Abgerufen am 19.07.2021.
  2. More Gastropods Feeding at Night on Parrotfishes (en). Abgerufen am 19.07.2021.
  3. World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) (en). Abgerufen am 19.07.2021.



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