Conus aurantius 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Mollusca Gastropoda Neogastropoda Conidae

Scientific Name: Conus aurantius
Species Authority: Hwass in Bruguière, 1792
Common Name(s):
English Golden Cone
Conus insularis Gmelin, 1791

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-10-26
Assessor(s): Petuch, E.
Reviewer(s): Peters, H. & Coltro, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Peters, H., Livingstone, S. & Passmore, J.
This species has a restricted range and is endemic to the islands of Klein Bonaire, Bonaire and Curaçao. However, it also benefits from the protection of marine protected areas such as Bonaire MPA. Because this species has such a small range, fewer than ten locations, and is subject to collecting, it is listed as Near Threatened - nearly meeting VU D2.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found around three Caribbean islands of the Netherland Antilles; Klein Bonaire, Bonaire and Curaçao (Coltro and Petuch, pers. comm. 2011).
Countries occurrence:
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Curaçao
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 600
Number of Locations: 3-9
Lower depth limit (metres): 10
Upper depth limit (metres): 2
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no population information for this species of cone snail. This is a cryptic species and is uncommon.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: C. aurantius is a large cone species which is found on inter-reef substrate at depths up to 10 m. Adults will typically grow to 70 mm (Rosenberg 2009).
Systems: Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In common with all Conus spp this species is traded for the specimen shell collector market and can demand high to very high prices (Rice 2007). There are no quantitative data available on the number of shells removed but the moderately large size of the shell (70 mm) is likely to also make this species attractive to the local curio trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is highly restricted in its range, found along a stretch of coastline approximately 300 km long.  Although there are no specific incidence of threat caused by its limited AOO, i.e. coastal development etc, as with all Conus spp it is subject to shell gathering especially by tourists which could place pressure on populations.  However, there are also marine protected areas within its area of distribution (e.g. Bonaire) which will offer a high level of protection.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

This species is restricted in its range and very scarce in the market and would benefit from further research into populations, distribution, habitat, level of off-take and threats (including the impact of fisheries) before any action plan can be formulated. There are no known conservation measures currently in place for this species.  

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.6. Inter-Reef Rubble Substrate
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Whole (>90%) ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

♦  Handicrafts, jewellery, etc.

♦  Sport hunting/specimen collecting
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Fontein, F. 2008. About Conus aurantius. The Cone Collector 5: 15.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Rice, T. 2007. A Catalog of Dealers' Prices for Shells: Marine, Land and Freshwater. Sea and Shore Publications.

Rosenberg, G. 2009. Malacolog 4.1.1: A Database of Western Atlantic Marine Mollusca. [WWW database (version 4.1.1)]. Available at:

Citation: Petuch, E. 2013. Conus aurantius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T192716A2148190. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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