11.1.8 Neomphalina

A live specimen of “scaly-foot” gastropod from a hydrothermal vent at the Central Indian Ridge. Image modified from fig. 5B in Nakamura et al. (2012); CC BY 4.0 license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


Neomphalina are a fairly obscure group of gastropods, though one has achieved some recent fame. It was discovered in 2001 at a deep-sea hydrothermal vent system and has been named Crysomallon squamiferum. This snail has received considerable media attention (e.g., here and here) because it sometimes uses metal (iron sulphide, or fool’s gold) to construct both the outermost layer of its shell and protrusions extending from its foot. No other snail, or animal, is known to utilize metal in this way.

As with the Cocculiniformia, the phylogenetic relationship of Neomphalina to the other major clades of Gastropoda remains uncertain.


Bouchet, P. 2011. Neomphalina. Accessed on March 3, 2017 through WoRMS at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=579262.

Nakamura, K. et al. 2012. Discovery of new hydrothermal activity and chemosynthetic fauna on the Central Indian Ridge at 18–20 S. PLOS ONE 7(3): e32965. Link.