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Tritoniidae Family

Family Tritoniidae

The body of tritoniids is usually elongate and soft with a high dorsum that may be rounded or flattened. The mantle skirt is usually reduced being of the same width or slightly wider or narrower than the foot. Tritoniids have secondary gills consisting of bushy branches or lacy extensions arranged along the edge of the mantle which are held up or sometimes laid out laterally. Between the oral tentacles, which may be short and enrolled, the oral veil is fringed anteriorly with a few or numerous finger-like papillae. The oral veil is often bi-lobed. The rhinophores can contract into a raised sheath. The rim of this sheath can be lobed or scalloped on the flared lip. The rhinophores have a smooth stalk with a distal club consisting of a ring of vertical papillae (palmate) sometimes arborescent. The diet of tritoniids is mainly soft corals or gorgonians. Some species are very cryptic upon their prey in that their secondary gill structures closely resemble the polyps of the host upon which they prey.