Taxon profile


Dove Shells
Columbellidae Swainson, 1840

kingdom Animalia - animals »  phylum Mollusca - mollusks »  class Gastropoda - gastropods »  order Neogastropoda »  superfamily Buccinoidea - whelks

Scientific synonyms

Columbellinae Swainson, 1840
Pyreninae Suter, 1909


Columbellid gastropods comprise a diverse group of active, mostly epibenthic marine snails, most small (less than 20 mm) in size and often very common and /or diverse where they occur. They can be found in all coastal depths and a wide diversity of marine habitats. Most are opportunistic generalist carnivores.
Columbellid shells are usually biconic with spiral or axial sculptural elements, lacking spines or other processes. They generally resemble small buccinids, however some columbellid taxa strongly resemble members of other families, including conids, terebrids, mitrids or strombids. The one true diagnostic feature for the family is the form of the radular teeth (Radwin 1977), which have a unique stenoglossate morphology including an acuspate rectangular center plate and pincer-like lateral teeth that rotate on narrow bases. Columbellid taxonomy and relationships have since been based on characters of the shell and (to a lesser degree) the radula (e.g. Wilson 1994).
Diagnosis. Shell generally 5-25 mm long with determinate growth, biconic to terebriform; labial edge usually thickened, denticulate within in adults; columella smooth or weakly plaited, siphonal canal short, usually with shallow posterior canal along aperture edge. Animals colorful, long siphon, eyes large, foot long, narrow, elastic. Operculum corneous, usually drop-shaped. Radula stenoglossate, with rectangular, acuspate center plate; sigmoid, generally unicuspid laterals having 2-4 secondary cusps along inner edge.
Remarks. The primary distinguishing feature of the columbellids is the form of the radula; however radulae were not available for most of the material investigated herein.
DeMaintenon M.J. (2019). The columbellid species of the northeast Pacific coast from the Aleutian Islands to Cedros Island, Baja California (Neogastropoda: Columbellidae).
Shell form and sculpture in this family is extremely variable. Shape varies from short and squat to elongate. Sculpture may be smooth, axially ribbed, spirally corded, or both, but a constant feature is spiral cords on the base. Shells show the overall features of the highly evolved gastropods, most noticeably a siphonal canal, in common with families such as Buccinidae, Nassariidae and Turridae. The specific shell features which assist in placement into the Columbellidae are:

* There is a very short siphonal canal, often little more than a gap at the anterior end of the aperture.
* Outer lip sinus: there is a sinus, or gap, in the top of the outer lip, a feature also found in the Turridae. In the Columbellidae it is usually shallow, but much deeper in the Turridae.
* Outer lip dentition: there are usually denticles inside the outer lip, although some species have just a single indistinct bulge. The strength of the denticles varies from species to species, and with growth stage of the shell. In some species the denticles are only developed in the most mature specimens, therefore only being seen in a small percentage of shells.
* Inner (columellar) lip dentition: the inner lip of the aperture is without plaits, providing a point of separation from Marginellidae, Mitridae, and Volutidae. There are often weak denticles on the inner lip, aligned on an axial ridge just inside the edge of the callus, but these also tend to be restricted to mature shells.
Beechey, Seashells of New South Wales.
Author: Jan Delsing

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Included taxa

Number of records: 65

genus Aesopus Gould, 1860
genus Alcira H. Adams, 1861
genus Alia H. Adams & A. Adams, 1853
genus Amphissa H. Adams & A. Adams, 1853
genus Anachis H. Adams & A. Adams, 1853
genus Antimitrella Powell, 1937
genus Aoteatilia Powell, 1939
genus Ascalista J. Drivas & M. Jay, 1990
genus Astyris H. Adams & A. Adams, 1853
genus Bifurcium P. Fischer, 1884
genus Columbella Lamarck, 1799
genus Columbellopsis Bucquoy, Dautzenberg & Dollfus, 1882
genus Conella Swainson, 1840
genus Cosmioconcha Dall, 1913
genus Costoanachis Sacco, 1890
genus Cotonopsis Olsson, 1942
genus Decipifus Olsson & McGinty, 1958
genus Euplica Dall, 1889
genus Euspiralta Monsecour & Pelorce, 2013
genus Exaesopus deMaintenon, 2019
genus Exomilopsis Powell, 1964
genus Gatliffena Iredale, 1929
genus Glyptanachis Pilsbry & Lowe, 1932
genus Graphicomassa Iredale, 1929
genus Indomitrella Oostingh, 1940
genus Ithiaesopus Olsson & Harbison, 1953
genus Liratilia Finlay, 1926
genus Macrozafra Finlay, 1926
genus Mazatlania Dall, 1913
genus Metanachis Thiele, 1924
genus Metulella Gabb, 1873
genus Microcithara Fischer, 1844
genus Mitrella Risso, 1826
genus Mitropsis Pease, 1868
genus Mokumea Habe, 1991
genus Nassarina Dall, 1889
genus Nitidella Swainson, 1840
genus Nodochila Rehder, 1980
genus Parametaria Dall, 1916
genus Pardalinops M. De Maintenon, 2008
genus Parvanachis Radwin, 1968
genus Parviterebra Pilsbry, 1904
genus Paxula Finlay, 1926
genus Pictocolumbella Habe, 1945
genus Pleurifera Drivas & Jay, 1997
genus Pseudamycla Pace, 1902
genus Pseudanachis Thiele, 1924
genus Pyrene Röding, 1798
genus Pyreneola Iredale, 1918
genus Retizafra Hedley, 1913
genus Rhombinella G.E. Radwin, 1968
genus Ruthia Shasky, 1970
genus Salitra Marincovič, 1973
genus Seminella Pease, 1868
genus Steironepion Pilsbry & H. N. Lowe, 1932
genus Strombina Mörch, 1852
genus Sulcomitrella T. Habe, 1958
genus Sundamitrella Oostingh, 1952
genus Suturoglypta Redwin, 1968
genus Zafra Adams, 1860
genus Zafrona Iredale, 1916
genus Zanassarina Pilsbry & H. N. Lowe, 1932
genus Zella Iredale, 1924
genus Zemitrella Finlay, 1926
genus Zetekia Dall, 1918

Links and literature

EN The Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera [104560]

Rees, T. (compiler): The Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera [] [as Columbellidae Swainson, 1840]
Data retrieved on: 30 November 2019
CZ Pfleger V. (1999): České názvy živočichů III. Měkkýši (Mollusca), Národní muzeum, (zoologické odd.), Praha, 108 pp. [as Columbellidae]
Data retrieved on: 11 November 2013

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