Will triton snails save Australia’s Great Barrier Reef?


This video from Hawaii is about a triton snail at Lanai lookout in Oahu eating a crown of thorns starfish.

From Wildlife Extra:

Giant snail the solution to Barrier Reef’s Crown-of-thorns problem?

Beautiful as it may be, the Crown-of-thorns Starfish has had a devastating effect on parts of the Great Barrier Reef

Good news for Australia in the battle to save delicate coral organisms on the Great Barrier Reef from annihilation by the rapidly multiplying and invasive Crown-of-thorns Starfish.

Scientists have discovered that the scent of the Triton Sea Snail is repellent to the giant starfish.

The Crown-of-thorns has been responsible for 40 per cent of coral cover loss on the Great Barrier Reef in the past 30 years.

University of the Sunshine Coast senior lecturer Scott Cummins says they have learned that the Triton Snail is one of the starfish’s natural predators.

“We put [the snail] next to the Crown-of-thorns Starfish and they reacted quite obviously,” he says.

“They started to run away, which is quite an important finding because it tells us they do have very poor eyesight, so they are sensing or smelling their main predator.”

At the moment, in an effort to save the reefs, divers search for the starfish and administer a lethal injection which was developed by James Cook University, but this is very costly an labour intensive. This new discovery may provide the long-term answer to the problem.

“The snail is releasing a complex mixture of molecules,” explains Cummins. “We want to narrow it down to exactly what the molecule is then hopefully we can take that and put it into some slow release system on the reef.”

Australian Institute of Marine Science researcher Dr Mike Hall says the decline of the giant Triton Snail, prized for its beautiful shell, might have partially contributed to the population explosion in Crown-of-thorns Starfish that has had such a devastating effect.

The snail has been protected in Australia since the 1960s but it is still extremely rare on the Great Barrier Reef.

One should hope that triton snails will also help against another threat to the Great Barrier Reef: the disastrous environmental policies of Tony Abbott’s government in Australia.

Seven ways the Australian government in totally screwing up the environment: here.

15 thoughts on “Will triton snails save Australia’s Great Barrier Reef?

  1. a pretty important issue right now with the queensland election coming up and premier campbell newman using tax payers money to fund Adani, a company who wants to dredge the Reef and whose environmental record is so bad no major bank will fund it.

    the Reef has lost half its coral already, according to a guardian article.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/oct/01/great-barrier-reef-coral-cover

    and the fight back, is here https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/queensland-qld-state-election/queensland-election-ads/save-our-reef-this-queensland-election?t=ezbzhAVE

    lets hope the current incumbents get kicked out as the seem hell-bent on destroying the Barrier Reef

    Debbie

    Like

  2. Pingback: British government sabotages marine life conservation | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Great Barrier Reef fish conservation works | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Starfish, new discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Save Australian Great Barrier Reef coral | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Sea turtle’s view of the Great Barrier Reef, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, corporate greenwashing? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: White whale Migaloo protected by Australian police | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: Ocean predatory animals are growing | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.