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Oregon’s Official State Seashell, The Oregon Hairy Triton

Posted by Jody on December 29, 2011

Oregon’s State Seashell is the Fusitriton oregonensis, commonly referred to as the Oregon Hairy Triton.  It was named in the late 1840’s by conchologist (shell expert) John Howard Redfield after the Oregon Territory. The Oregon Legislature declared the Oregon Hairy Triton the Official State Seashell in 1991.

Oregon Hairy Triton (Photo by Ed Bierman/Wikimedia Commons)

The Oregon Hairy Triton is rather wide ranging. This large predatory sea snail is known to  inhabit the waters of Alaska’s Pribilof Islands in the Bearing Sea, south along the Pacific coast of the United States to San Diego, California.  The Fusitriton orgonesis can also be found in Northern Japan.

Also known simply as the Oregon Triton, this sturdy-shelled sea snail can be found on sand and loose fragments of rock, from the low tide zone to depths of 400 feet, often washing up on the beach at high tide. One of the largest seashells found along the Oregon coast,  look for them to be 3 – 5 inches in length.

Why is it called hairy? Its light brown shell is covered with gray-brown bristles called periostracum.

Do you have a favorite Oregon coast beach treasure?  We’d love to hear about it!

Happy beachcombing !

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