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Abalone, Opisthobranchs (Sea Slugs),
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/The Conscientious Marine
The Stomach-Footed Mollusks, Class Gastropoda,
Subclass Prosobranchia, Part 1
To: Part 2:
by Bob Fenner
The following taxonomic scheme is largely framed after Robert Barnes
Invertebrate Zoology 5th Ed., with modifications from http://sn2000.taxonomy.nl/Main/Classification/35476.htm
Snails Commonly (and not) Encountered in the Marine
The Class Gastropoda, the Snails: are divided
into two Subclasses: Prosobranchia and Opisthobranchia,
Subclass Prosobranchia: In turn divided into three
living Orders: Archaeogastropoda, Mesogastropoda and
Neogastropoda. Marine, freshwater and terrestrial. Name refers to
the position of the internal organs and mantle cavity; anterior vs. the
opisthobranchs where these are located posteriorly in the body. Aquatic
species with one or two gills, Most have a shell and operculum
(closeable cover). Most are dioecious (separate sexes).
Order More primitive forms. Include abalones,
limpets, turbans, neritids. Inadvanced species, typically with two
bipectinate gills (right one may be reduced or absent), two auricle,
two nephridia (osphradium simple, ridgelike).
Superfamily Pleurotomariacea: Slit shells and
Abalones. Have shells with a notch, slit or openings, and two gills.
Pleurotomatia, Perotrochus, Scissurella, Haliotis
Superfamily Fissuellacea: Keyhole Limpets. Have shells with
just one (apical) hole, and two gills. Emarginula, Diodora,
Superfamily Patellacea (Docoglossa): Limpets that lack a hole
or notch in their shells. Have a single auricle, single bipectinate
gill, secondary gills, or may have no gills. Acmaea,
Collisella, Patelloia, Lottia, Patella, Cellana, Lepeta.
Superfamily Trochaea: Top shells, Turbans, Star shells.
Conical shells, possess an operculum, single bipectinate gill.
Topshells and Turbans. Genera of note: Astraea, Margarites, Tegula,
Trochus, Turbo, Astraea.
Turbo fluctuosus (at right)
Aquarium favorite as an all-around algae eater. Western Mexico
Superfamily Neritacea: Globose operculate snails. Single
nephridium and complex reproductive structures sometimes distances this
group from other archaeogastropods by taxonomists, but do have a single
bipectinate gill. Nerita, Neritina, Theodoxus, terrestrial
Nerita funiculata, Nerites.
|Nerita picea (Recluz 1841), the Black Nerite
(Pipipi in Hawaiian). A Hawaiian endemic. To about a half
inch in length. Found in the splash zone to high and dry above
there (but below Periwinkles), more actively grazing at night.
Shiny black globose shells with fine gray spiral lines.
Order Mesogastropoda: Intermediate Gastropods. Four
Superfamilies. Have simple monopectinate gills, one auricle, one
nephridium and their osphradia are simple (ridgelike). Have complex
reproductive structures (usually a penis). Their radulas (rasping
"tongues") are taenioglossate (with seven teeth per
transverse row). Principally marine, but many freshwater and
terrestrial species as well.
Superfamilies Cyclophoracea and Vivparacea. All terrestrial,
lack gills. Includes the freshwater aquarium snails of the genera
Viviparus, Pomacea and
Superfamily Littoinacea: Intertidal Littoinidae;
Littorina, Tectarius, Lacuna and terrestrial Pomatiasidae;
Superfamily Rissocea: A large grouping of small conical
marine, freshwater and terrestrial snails. Hydrobia, Bulimus,
Rissoa, Alvania, Cingula.
Superfamily Cerithiacea. Turret Shells, Worms Shells. Marine,
freshwater. Have pointed shells, small, generally less than an
inch in length. Turritelidae; Turritella. Vermetidae;
Vermetus, Serpulorbis, Petaloconchus, Dendropoma.
Siliquaridae; Siloquaria, Caecum, Goniobasis, Pleuroceta,
Cerithrium, Bittium, Batillaria.
|Ceriths. Excellent diatom and soft
green algae eaters (even some Cyanobacteria). Hardy and long-lived
in tropical marine aquariums. Cerithium litteratum
Superfamily Epitoniacea: Pelagic Violet Snails;
Superfamily Eulimacea. Predators, commensals and parasites of
echinoderms. Eulima, Stilifer, Entoconcha, Entocolax,
Superfamily Calyptreacea: Limpet like snails and Slipper
shells. Protandrous. Most have a cap-like or limpet like shell.
Capulus, Calyptraea, Crepidula.
Superfamily Cypraecea: Cowries. Spires enclosed in last whorl
of shells. Cypraea, Trivia...
Family Cypraeidae: Cowries.
|Cypraea species (not all...) Cypraea
annulus Linnaeus 1758, the Gold Ringed Cowry (family
Cypraeidae). A great animal for reef aquariums with algae to trim!
Flattened top with bright golden rim... similar to the Money Cowry
(C. moneta). Indian Ocean, Red Sea, to Central Pacific,
including Hawai'i's leeward islands and the Cooks. To about
half an inch in length. This one in my friend Maurice's tank at
|Cypraea caputserpentis Linnaeus 1758, the
Snakehead Cowry. Indo-Pacific, including Hawai'i. To about an
inch and a half in shell length. This one off of Maui,
|Cypraea cervus Linnaeus 1771, the Atlantic
or Deer Cowry. Here at the TX State Aq. in Corpus Christi.
|Cypraea miliaris Gmelin 1791. If shell is
visible it's orangish to yellow with many fine white dots of
different sizes. Mantle is brown to blackish, covered with many
branchlike papillae. Active at night. West Pacific; Malaysia,
Japan, Philippines. N. Sulawesi image.
|Cypraea spadicea, the California Cowry. Cold
water tanks only. Aquarium photo.
|Cypraea maculifera Schilder 1932, the
Reticulated Cowry. Shallow water to fifty feet, in cracks and
crevices, usually in caves. Common throughout its range in the
Central Pacific. To 2 1/2". This one in Hawaii.
|Cypraea tigris Linnaeus 1758, the Tiger
Cowry. Too common as a "curio", this is no doubt the best
know Cowry (or at least most recognized as a sea animal in the
group). South Africa, Red Sea, Hawai'i, Society Islands. To
four inches shell length. One off the Gilis, Lombok, Indonesia,
another with a flashlight for size comparison where they "come
the biggest", off of Hawai'i.
Egg Cowries, Shuttle Shells, Family
|Cyphoma gibbosum (Linnaeus 1758), the
Flamingo Tongue. Tropical West Atlantic. To about an inch in
length. Found principally on the Gorgonians Gorgonia
flabellum and G. ventalina. Bahamas photos.
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies.
Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
|Cyphoma macgintyi , the Spotted Cyphoma (an
Allied or Egg Cowries, family Ovulidae, Subclass Prosobranchia,
Class Gastropoda...). This delightful small snail discovered at a
LFS in San Diego (Fountain's) on a branch of an imported
Gorgonian (which they feed on)
|Dentiovula dorsuosa (Hinds 1844). Pink
markings at either end of their shells. Mantle appears as red
colored fingerprint... with short, small papillae. Western Pacific;
Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan. N. Sulawesi pic.
|Ovula ovum. N. Queensland, Austr. pic of
two. and one eating a soft coral of the family Alcyoniidae in
|Phenacovolva rosea (A. Adams 1854). Long (to
50 mm.) reddish shell, with middle white band. Mantle has small
brown/black spots, rounded papillae. N. Sulawesi pic feeding on a
gorgonian. East Africa to the West Pacific.
The images in this table are linked
to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images
to go to the larger size.
To: Part 2: