State Shell

Oregon State Shell

Oregon Triton
Fusitriton oregonensis (Redfield, 1848)

In 1989, the 65th Oregon Legislative Assembly named the Oregon Triton, Fusitriton oregonensis (Redfield, 1848), the Official State Shell. Because of its hairy periostracum, it is sometimes referred to as the Hairy Triton.

When Redfield gave the original description of this species in 1848, Oregon was only a territory. Redfield first collected this new species on the Oregon coast and named it Fusitriton oregonensis after the Oregon Territory.

Fusitriton oregonensis (Redfield, 1848) can be found from Alaska to Baja California. It is considered a common shell in some areas and can be found intertidally. In other areas it is only found in deep water. It has been found in waters at a depth of 300-feet. The Oregon Triton has a fusiform shape and, although its brown hairy periostracum does not lend to its beauty, underneath this furry coat is a beautiful white shell with a cancellate, lattice-like sculpture. It can grow to a length of five inches. Gem quality specimens are difficult to find because the apex is usually damaged.

In the northern range, Fusitriton oregonensis (Redfield, 1848) moves into shallow water in late May and June to lay its eggs in rocky areas. If you happen to be in the right place during a very low tide, you may be fortunate enough to find a female spawning her egg casings.

The Oregon Triton has been observed feeding on sea urchins.

Each year the Oregon Society of Conchologists creates a trophy for its Annual Shell Show using a gold-leafed Oregon Triton set on a gold pedestal above a wood base. The trophy is in honor of shell club member and educator, Jean McCluskey. The trophy is given for best educational exhibit in the show.