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/The Conscientious Marine Aquarist

The Stomach-Footed Mollusks, Class Gastropoda, Subclass Prosobranchia, Part 2

To: Part 1:

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)

by Bob Fenner


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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Superfamily Strombacea: Predominantly large mollusks with heavy shells with flared lips, siphonal canals. 

Family Xenophoridae: Struthiolaria, Aporrhais, the Conchs: Lambis, Strombis

Genus Lambis:

Lambis cochata cochata, Orange Spider Conch. To 200 cm. Curved arms... Indian Ocean. Herbivorous. Mauritius 2016.


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Lambis lambis (Linnaeus 1758), Spider Conch. To 29 cm, ave. 18 cm. Aperture smooth, and small nodules make up the spire. Longer "arms" on females. Indo-West Pacific, including the Red Sea. Mauritius 2016. Di pix


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Lambis truncata, Red Sea pix.

Genus Strombus:

Strombus alatus, the Florida Fighting Conch. Here fighting after death so it seems with a Queen Conch. most 2 1/3 to 3 1/2 inches. To five inches maximum. Shells with large knobs as last whorl of spires. Opening reddish orange in life. Head mottled brown, with long whitish eye stalks, large white ended proboscis. 

Strombus gigas, the Queen Conch. 6-9 inches typically, to 12 in. maximum. Have large shells bearing a short conical spire with blunt spikes. Shells orangish, often covered with algae. Opening rosy pink. Covered by a claw-like operculum. Head gray with long tentacled eyes.  Live in Seagrass beds, cultured for aquariums. Below, a two inch cultured individual, an adult shell occupied by a large hermit crab in Cozumel, and typical in-the-wild appearance in Belize.
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Superfamily Heteropoda: Pelagic species with a finlike foot and reduced shells. Atlanta, Carinaria. 

Superfamily Hipponicacea: Families Family Hipponicidae" Troschel,1861 Details Boss, in Parker,1982:1003; Family Fossaridae Details Boss, in Parker,1982:1004; Family Vanikoridae {Gray,1845} Details Boss, in Parker,1982:1004; Family Caledoniellidae

Family Hipponicidae: Hoof Shells. Attach limpet-like to the substrate and don't move. Unlike true limpets (family Patellidae) these snails show spiral growth in their shells. Four Hawaiian species. 

Hipponix imbricatus Gould 1846. Shingly Hoof Shell. At times very abundant on the outsides of smooth boulders. Shallows to about fifty feet of depth. May be endemic to Hawai'i. To about half an inch in diameter. 

Superfamily Tonnacea. Heavy marine snails. The Helmet Shells: Cassis, Cassidarius. Bonnets: Phalium. Tritons: Cymatium. Tuns: Tonna

Superfamily Naticacea: Moon Shells. Burrowing species with globose shells and a drilling mechanism. Natica, Polinices. 

Family Cassididae: Helmuts. Typically of globular shells with short spires and apex whorls, and a vertical groove which the animals siphon protrudes. Feed almost exclusively on urchins. 

Cassis cornuta (Linnaeus 1758), the Horned Helmut. One of four species found in Hawai'i. Common in shallow sandy environments. Found buried in sand with only whorls in evidence. Largest Hawai'ian Helmut (to 15"); used as a "blow horn" by natives in shows. Some authors believe specimens with fewer, higher horns are males, shorter, more numerous females. Kona pix. 

Cassis flammea, the Flame Helmet. Helmet shaped shell, with thick outer lip banded in seven or eight dark stripes. Feed at night on sea urchins... overtaking and consuming them spines and all. Bahamas pic. 

Families Ranellidae and Personidae (often in Cymatidae in older literature): Tritons. Usually have thick, heavy, sculptured shells, though their beauty is often hidden by growth of their periostracum. Feed on echinoderms and molluscs. Fourteen species in Hawai'i. 

Charonia tritonis (Linnaeus 1767), the Triton's Trumpet (or Pu ole in Hawaiian). To twenty inches. . Indo-Pacific. Used by the Greek God Triton as well as Hawaiian and other indigenous folks as a blow horn. Important as a predator on Crown of Thorns Stars as well as other echinoderms. Hawai'i pic.  

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Cymatium raderi D’Attilio & Myers, 1984; Triton Snail. Tow about eight inches long. Predatory. Caribbean to Brazil. Roatan 2017

Family Lamellariidae (Velutinidae): http://seaslugforum.net/lamellar.htm, Coriocella, Lamellaria, Marsenina, Marseniopsis, and Mystinconchya.

Coriocella hibyae, Maldives

Coriocella nigra, Black Velutinid. To 4"/10cm. Internal shell; reticulate pattern. Indo-W. Pacific. Bali 2014

Order Neogastropoda: The Advanced Gastropods. Possess a single monopectinate gill, and a solitary auricle and nephridium. Triturating mechanism is a radula with three teeth to a transverse row (termed a rachiglossate condition) and osphradia with bipectinate folds. Entirely marine. 

Epitonium billeeanum (DuShane & Bratcher 1965). Distinctive yellow body and shell color... matching their prey, the ahermatypic Dendrophylliid genus Tubastrea. Tropical Indo-Pacific. N. Sulawesi pix. 

Superfamily Conacea (Toxoglossa). Predators with toxoglossal radulas, poison glands, or no radula at all. Cone Shells: Conus, Turris. Terebridae: Terebris (highly spired).

Family Conidae: (Superfamily Conacea, Toxoglossa). Predaceous species with a toxoglossal radula or none, associated with poison glands. The Cone Shells (Conus, Turris) and highly spired Terebridae (Terebra). Don't touch!

Conus abraeus Linnaeus 1758, the Hebrew Cone. Indo-Pacific. To 2 1/2" in length. Found exposed by day in sandy areas feeding on polychaete worms. Distinctive "Hebrew lettering" on heavy white shells. When alive the shell is covered with a yellowy periostracum. Kona photo. 

Conus marmoreus Linnaeus 1758, the Marbled Cone. Indo-Pacific. To 5" in length. Found at times exposed by day in sandy areas feeding on other cones. This is one of a few toxic/venomous cone species in Hawai'i. Cannot be handled anywhere safely.  Kona photo. 

Conus textile Linnaeus 1758, the Textile Cone. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea, much of the rest of the tropical Indo-Pac, including Hawai'i. Feeds on other prosobranch snails. Can be fatal to humans. Red Sea image.

Superfamily Muricacea. Heavy, conical shells and long siphonal canals. Drills (Muricidae): Murex, Urosalpinx, Eupleura, Purpura Thais.

Family Muricidae: Murex

Murex/Hexaplex brassica (Lamarck 1822), the Cabbage Murex. Obverse below.  Costa Rica (Pacific side) 2011 

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Murex princeps, Spined Murex. Spines brownish black with distinctive white bands (when not overgrown!). To 5 inches. CA to Peru. Here in Puerto Vallarta 2015

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Murex ramosa Images of a live specimen and a cluster of eggs in Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, Polynesia. 

Murex tribulus. East Africa, Red Sea to Fiji. Feeds on bivalves/mussels. N. Sulawesi pic.

Superfamily Buccinacea: Snails of many forms with long siphonal canals. Whelks (Buccinidae): Buccinum, Neptunea. Melongenidae: Busycon. Tulip Shells (Fasciolariidae): Fasciolaria, Mud Snails (Nassariidae): Nassarius, Ilyanassa.

Family Buccinidae:

Babylonia zeylanica, A good reference is http://www.nmr-pics.nl/Buccinidae/album/index.html
I wouldn't trust them around other Molluscs. They're predators and scavengers. Also, I didn't mention in the previous mail, but the common name is Babylon or Babylonia snail and I've seen them available from time to time on the 'net and locally.

Family Fasciolariidae: Tulip Snails

Cymbiola vespertilio (Linnaeus 1758), the Bat Volute. Sandy, silty habitats where it hunts, consumes other gastropods. Western Pacific; Philippines, Indo., New Guinea, N. Australia. Here consuming the eggs of a squid in N. Sulawesi.


Fasciolaria tulipa, True Tulip. Shell spindle-shaped. Patterned in broken spirals of variable shape. Body dark colored, brown operculum. 3-6 inches usually, 10 maximum. Cozumel pic*. 

Family Nassariidae, Nassa Mud Snails.

Nassarius distortus, "Super" Mud/Nassarius Snails... oft-times collected, imported from Tonga. Great, small, tough snails for reefs. http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=16&cat=1906&articleid=3290
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Nassarius variegates, Nassarius Snail. My favorite for detritus consumption.


Superfamily Volutacea. Shells smooth, conical to low-spired. Olives (Olividae): Oliva, Olivella. Miter Shells (Mitridae): Vexillum, Mira. Harp Shells (Harpidae): Harpa. Volutes (Volutidae): Voluta, Cymbium. 

Cymbiola vespertilio, the Bat Volute. To 6 inches long. Found on sandy bottoms in the tropical Indo-West Pacific.

Harpa (maybe H. major), Harp Snail. Shell to 12 cm (4.5"). Indo-Pacific; incl. Japan. Bali 2014.

Marginella plumiosum, the Glowing Marginella. 1/4-1/2 inch long. Found on sandy bottoms in the tropical West Atlantic; common in the Caribbean. White-cream shells with three faint yellowish bands. 

Pusiostoma mendicaria, Bumblebee snails... a darling of the small reef clean up interest. To one inch in length. Family Mitridae, Buccinidae.

To: Part 1:

To: Opisthobranchs (Sea Slugs)

Bibliography/Further Information:

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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