1.2 Caenogastropoda


Name origins: “Caeno-” is a variant of “Ceno-,” which is Greek for new. Thus, caenogastropods are “new gastropods.” Caenogastropoda is the most diverse clade of Gastropoda (>23,000 living species; WoRMS database) and also the most ecologically successful. Species occur not only in marine habitats, but also in freshwater and on land; their diets are equally varied (Osca et al., 2015). Like the Gastropoda more broadly, uncertainty remains regarding the internal relationships of major groups of Caenogastropoda. For example, Osca et al. (2015) recently used mitochondrial genomic data to test the phylogenetic status of three traditionally recognized clades–Neogastropoda, Architaenioglossa, and Littorinimorpha (which includes many species once recognized as “Mesogastropoda”)–and found that the latter two formed paraphyletic “grades” within the Caenogastropoda. They did find broad support, however, for a clade of “siphonate” gastropods within the Caenogastropoda, which are characterized by having shells with a siphonal canal. Most of these siphonate caenogastropods belong to the monophyletic Neogastropoda clade. Neogastropods are all predators and some, like the cone snails, use powerful neurotoxins in conjunction with harpoon-like delivery systems to immobilize and capture their prey. The time-calibrated gastropod phylogeny recently presented by Zapata et al. (2014) suggests that Caenogastropoda diversified sometime in the late Permian or early Triassic.

Gallery of Caenogastropoda
  • Family Conidae: Modern Conus geographus from Sri Lanka (PRI 54489).

  • Family Busyconidae: Fossil Sinistrofulgur contrarium from the late Pliocene Tamiami Formation (Pinecrest Beds) of Florida (PRI 70051).

  • Family Ficidae: Fossil Ficus from the late Pliocene Tamiami Fm. (Pinecrest Beds) of Florida (PRI 70047).

  • Family Strombidae: Fossil Strombus from the late Pliocene Tamiami Formation (Pinecrest Beds) of Florida (PRI 70052).

  • Family Turritellidae: Fossil Turritella magnasulcus from the late Pliocene Tamiami Fm. (Pinecrest Beds) of Florida (PRI 70049).

  • Family Calyptraeidae: Fossil Crucibulum auricula from the late Pliocene Tamiami Fm. (Pinecrest Beds) of Florida (PRI 70055).

  • Family Calyptraeidae: Fossil Calyptraea centralis from the late Pliocene Tamiami Fm. (Pinecrest Beds) of Florida (PRI 70046).

  • Family Drillidae: Fossil Cymatosyrinx aclinica from the late Pliocene Tamiami Fm. (Pinecrest Beds) of Florida (PRI 70050).

  • Family Naticidae: Fossil Naticarius plicatella from the late Pliocene Tamiami Fm. (Pinecrest Beds) of Florida (PRI 70044).

  • Family Ampullariidae: Modern Pomacea palluclosa from Lake Tsala Apopka, Florida (PRI 70096).

Examples of Caenogastropoda:
Apple Snails

Pomacea palluclosa, from Lake Tsala Apopka, Florida (PRI 70096).Creative Commons License
This work by the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Pomacea is a genus of freshwater snails–commonly known as “apple snails” or “mystery snails”–that includes a species native to Florida. They belong to the Ampullaroidea clade and are traditionally classified as members of the Architaenioglossa. These snails are sometimes kept as pets and care tips are presented in the video below.

Queen Conch

The large shells of the Queen Conch, Lobatus gigas, are perhaps the most iconic of all Caribbean seashells. The flesh of this herbivorous species is edible, but over harvesting has resulted in dwindling populations. The video below discusses the natural history of the Queen Conch, which belongs in the Stromboidea clade (traditionally classified as a group of Littorinimorpha).

Cigarette Cone

A specimen of Conus geographus from Sri Lanka (PRI 54489).Creative Commons License
This work by the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Indo-Pacific cone snail Conus geographus is sometimes referred to as the “cigarette cone” for an ominous reason: if you are stung by it, you may only live long enough to smoke a single cigarette before you die.  Like all cone snails, Conus geographus is a venomous predator. Unlike most cone snails–a majority of which eat worms–the cigarette cone hunts small fish. Because its neurotoxins–termed “conotoxins”–target the vertebrate nervous system (many aspects of which humans and fish share in common), defensive stings delivered to unwary shell collectors can be fatal. University of Washington Professor Emeritus Alan Kohn has spent much of his career researching the natural history of cone snails and was the first to discover that this particular species eats fish. Dr. Kohn recently reviewed all medically documented cases of cone snail stings and found that Conus geographus has been responsible for at least 30 human deaths (Kohn, 2016), which is typically caused by muscle paralysis leading to respiratory failure. An envenomation event in Queensland, Australia in 2015–perhaps by Conus geographus–is recounted here. For more information about the “cigarette cone”–a type of neogastropod–watch the video below.

The venoms of cone snails and related species are currently receiving considerable attention for their potential uses in varied pharmacological applications. The video below describes some of the research done in the laboratory of Dr. Mandë Holford, who is one of the lead investigators in this fascinating area of study.

Families of Caenogastropoda

Bouchet and Gofas (2013) recognize the following gastropod families as members of the Caenogastropoda († indicates extinct families). This list was copied from the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) on February 2, 2017 and is reposted here in concordance with the source material’s Creative Commons BY 4.0 license. The link associated with each name will direct you to additional information about that family on WoRMS.

Order Architaenioglossa (likely paraphyletic)

Family Ampullariidae Gray, 1824
Family Naricopsinidae Gründel, 2001 †
Family Aciculidae Gray, 1850
Family Cochlostomatidae Kobelt, 1902
Family Craspedopomatidae Kobelt & Möllendorff, 1898
Family Cyclophoridae Gray, 1847
Family Diplommatinidae Pfeiffer, 1856
Family Ferussinidae Wenz, 1923 (1915) †
Family Maizaniidae Tielecke, 1940
Family Megalomastomatidae Blanford, 1864
Family Neocyclotidae Kobelt & Möllendorff, 1897
Family Pupinidae L. Pfeiffer, 1853
Family Pliopholygidae Taylor, 1966 †
Family Viviparidae Gray, 1847

Order Littorinimorpha (likely paraphyletic)

Family Calyptraeidae Lamarck, 1809; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Capulidae Fleming, 1822
Family Cingulopsidae Fretter & Patil, 1958
Family Eatoniellidae Ponder, 1965
Family Rastodentidae Ponder, 1966
Family Cypraeidae Rafinesque, 1815; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Eocypraeidae Schilder, 1924
Family Ovulidae Fleming, 1822
Family Ficidae Meek, 1864 (1840)
Family Annulariidae Henderson & Bartsch, 1920
Family Bohaispiridae Youluo, 1978 †
Family Leviathaniidae Harzhauser & Schneider, 2014 †
Family Littorinidae Children, 1834
Family Pomatiidae Newton, 1891 (1828)
Family Purpurinidae Zittel, 1895 †
Family Purpuroideidae Guzhov, 2004 †
Family Skeneopsidae Iredale, 1915
Family Tripartellidae Gründel, 2001 †
Family Zerotulidae Warén & Hain, 1996
Family Naticidae Guilding, 1834; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Atlantidae Rang, 1829
Family Bellerophinidae Destombes, 1984 †
Family Carinariidae Blainville, 1818
Family Pterotracheidae Rafinesque, 1814
Family Barleeiidae Gray, 1857
Family Emblandidae Ponder, 1985
Family Helicostoidae Pruvot-Fol, 1937
Family Lironobidae Ponder, 1967
Family Mesocochliopidae Yu, 1987 †
Family Palaeorissoinidae Gründel & Kowalke, 2002 †
Family Rissoidae Gray, 1847
Family Rissoinidae Stimpson, 1865
Family Zebinidae Coan, 1964
Family Aporrhaidae Gray, 1850
Family Colombellinidae P. Fischer, 1884 †
Family Dilatilabridae Bandel, 2007 †
Family Hippochrenidae Bandel, 2007 †
Family Pereiraeidae Bandel, 2007 †
Family Rostellariidae Gabb, 1868
Family Seraphsidae Gray, 1853
Family Strombidae Rafinesque, 1815; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Struthiolariidae Gabb, 1868
Family Thersiteidae Savornin, 1915 †
Family Tylostomatidae Stoliczka, 1868 †
Family Bursidae Thiele, 1925; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Cassidae Latreille, 1825; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Laubierinidae Warén & Bouchet, 1990
Family Personidae Gray, 1854; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Pisanianuridae Warén & Bouchet, 1990
Family Ranellidae Gray, 1854; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Tonnidae Suter, 1913 (1825); learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Amnicolidae Tryon, 1863
Family Anabathridae Keen, 1971
Family Assimineidae H. Adams & A. Adams, 1856
Family Bithyniidae Gray, 1857
Family Bythinellidae Locard, 1893
Family Caecidae Gray, 1850
Family Calopiidae Ponder, 1999
Family Clenchiellidae D. W. Taylor, 1966
Family Cochliopidae Tryon, 1866
Family Elachisinidae Ponder, 1985
Family Emmericiidae Brusina, 1870
Family Epigridae Ponder, 1985
Family Falsicingulidae Slavoshevskaya, 1975
Family Hydrobiidae Stimpson, 1865
Family Hydrococcidae Thiele, 1928
Family Iravadiidae Thiele, 1928
Family Lithoglyphidae Tryon, 1866
Family Moitessieriidae Bourguignat, 1863
Family Pomatiopsidae Stimpson, 1865
Family Stenothyridae Tryon, 1866
Family Tateidae Thiele, 1925
Family Tornidae Sacco, 1896 (1884)
Family Truncatellidae Gray, 1840
Family Aclididae G.O. Sars, 1878
Family Eulimidae Philippi, 1853
Family Haloceratidae Warén & Bouchet, 1991
Family Hipponicidae Troschel, 1861; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Vanikoridae Gray, 1840
Family Triviidae Troschel, 1863
Family Velutinidae Gray, 1840
Family Sakarahellidae Bandel, 2006
Family Vermetidae Rafinesque, 1815; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Lamelliphoridae Korobkov, 1960 †
Family Xenophoridae Troschel, 1852 (1840); learn more at the Neogene Atlas.

Genera of Littorinimorpha Unassigned to Family

Genus Avardaria Ali-Zade, 1932 †
Genus Choerina Brusina, 1882 †
Genus Fossarulus Neumayr, 1869 †
Genus Schuettemmericia Schlickum, 1961 †
Genus Staadtiellopsis Schlickum, 1968 †
Genus Zilchiola Kadolsky, 1993 †

Order Neogastropoda (monophyletic)

Family Belomitridae Kantor, Puillandre, Rivasseau & Bouchet, 2012
Family Buccinidae Rafinesque, 1815; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Busyconidae Wade, 1917 (1867)
Family Colubrariidae Dall, 1904
Family Columbellidae Swainson, 1840
Family Echinofulguridae Petuch, 1994 †
Family Fasciolariidae Gray, 1853; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Melongenidae Gill, 1871 (1854)
Family Nassariidae Iredale, 1916 (1835); learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Cancellariidae Forbes & Hanley, 1851; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Borsoniidae Bellardi, 1875
Family Bouchetispiridae Kantor, Strong & Puillandre, 2012
Family Clathurellidae H. Adams & A. Adams, 1858
Family Clavatulidae Gray, 1853; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Cochlespiridae Powell, 1942
Family Conidae Fleming, 1822; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Conorbidae de Gregorio, 1880
Family Drilliidae Olsson, 1964; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Horaiclavidae Bouchet, Kantor, Sysoev & Puillandre, 2011; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Mangeliidae P. Fischer, 1883; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Mitromorphidae Casey, 1904
Family Pseudomelatomidae Morrison, 1966
Family Raphitomidae Bellardi, 1875
Family Strictispiridae McLean, 1971
Family Terebridae Mörch, 1852
Family Turridae H. Adams & A. Adams, 1853 (1838)
Family Babyloniidae Kuroda, Habe & Oyama, 1971
Family Costellariidae MacDonald, 1860
Family Cystiscidae Stimpson, 1865
Family Harpidae Bronn, 1849
Family Marginellidae Fleming, 1828
Family Mitridae Swainson, 1831
Family Muricidae Rafinesque, 1815; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Pholidotomidae Cossmann, 1896 †
Family Pleioptygmatidae Quinn, 1989
Family Strepsiduridae Cossmann, 1901
Family Turbinellidae Swainson, 1835; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Volutidae Rafinesque, 1815
Family Volutomitridae Gray, 1854
Family Olivellidae Troschel, 1869
Family Olividae Latreille, 1825; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Pseudolividae de Gregorio, 1880
Family Ptychatractidae Stimpson, 1865
Family Pyropsidae Stephenson, 1941 †
Family Sarganidae Stephenson, 1923 †
Family Volutodermatidae Pilsbry & Olsson, 1954 †
Family Johnwyattiidae Serna, 1979 †
Family Perissityidae Popenoe & Saul, 1987 †
Family Pseudotritoniidae Golikov & Starobogatov, 1987 †
Family Pyramimitridae Cossmann, 1901
Family Speightiidae Powell, 1942 †
Family Taiomidae Finlay & Marwick, 1937 †
Family Weeksiidae Sohl, 1961 †

Families Unassigned to Suborder

Family Abyssochrysidae Tomlin, 1927
Family Provannidae Warén & Ponder, 1991
Family Acanthonematidae Wenz, 1938 †
Family Acteoninidae Cossmann, 1895 †
Family Ampullinidae Cossmann, 1919
Family Campanilidae Douvillé, 1904
Family Plesiotrochidae Houbrick, 1990
Family Trypanaxidae Gougerot & Le Renard, 1987 †
Family Canterburyellidae Bandel, Gründel & Maxwell, 2000 †
Family Batillariidae Thiele, 1929
Family Brachytrematidae Cossmann, 1906 †
Family Cassiopidae Beurlen, 1967 †
Family Cerithiidae Fleming, 1822
Family Dialidae Kay, 1979
Family Diastomatidae Cossmann, 1894
Family Eustomatidae Cossmann, 1906 †
Family Ladinulidae Bandel, 1992 †
Family Lanascalidae Bandel, 1992 †
Family Litiopidae Gray, 1847
Family Maoraxidae Bandel, Gründel & Maxwell, 2000 †
Family Melanopsidae H. Adams & A. Adams, 1854
Family Metacerithiidae Cossmann, 1906 †
Family Modulidae P. Fischer, 1884
Family Pachychilidae P. Fischer & Crosse, 1892
Family Paludomidae Stoliczka, 1868
Family Pelycidiidae Ponder & Hall, 1983
Family Pickworthiidae Iredale, 1917
Family Planaxidae Gray, 1850
Family Pleuroceridae P. Fischer, 1885 (1863)
Family Popenellidae Bandel, 1992 †
Family Potamididae H. Adams & A. Adams, 1854
Family Procerithiidae Cossmann, 1906 †
Family Propupaspiridae Nützel, Pan & Erwin, 2002 †
Family Prostyliferidae Bandel, 1992 †
Family Scaliolidae Jousseaume, 1912
Family Semisulcospiridae Morrison, 1952
Family Siliquariidae Anton, 1838
Family Thiaridae Gill, 1871 (1823)
Family Turritellidae Lovén, 1847; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Coelostylinidae Cossmann, 1908 †
Family Anthracopupidae Wenz, 1938 †
Family Dendropupidae Wenz, 1938 †
Family Epitoniidae Berry, 1910 (1812)
Family Janthinidae Lamarck, 1822
Family Nystiellidae Clench & Turner, 1952
Family Lyocyclidae Thiele, 1925
Family Goniasmatidae Nützel & Bandel, 2000 †
Family Orthonematidae Nützel & Bandel, 2000 †
Family Palaeostylidae Wenz, 1938 †
Family Chuchlinidae Frýda & Bandel, 1997 †
Family Imoglobidae Nützel, Erwin & Mapes, 2000 †
Family Perunellidae Frýda & Bandel, 1997 †
Family Sphaerodomidae Bandel, 2002 †
Family Plicatusidae Pan & Erwin, 2002 †
Family Polygyrinidae Bandel, 1993 †
Family Pommerozygiidae Gründel, 1999 †
Family Protorculidae Bandel, 1991 †
Family Pseudomelaniidae R. Hoernes, 1884 †; learn more at the Neogene Atlas.
Family Trajanellidae Pchelintsev, 1951 †
Family Settsassiidae Bandel, 1992 †
Family Anozygidae Bandel, 2002 †
Family Meekospiridae Knight, 1956 †
Family Soleniscidae Knight, 1931 †
Family Spanionematidae Golikov & Starobogatov, 1987 †
Family Spirostylidae Cossmann, 1909 †
Family Ischnoptygmatidae Erwin, 1988 †
Family Subulitidae Lindström, 1884 †
Family Berendinellidae Guzhov, 2005 †
Family Cerithiopsidae H. Adams & A. Adams, 1853
Family Newtoniellidae Korobkov, 1955
Family Triphoridae Gray, 1847
Family Pseudozygopleuridae Knight, 1930 †
Family Zygopleuridae Wenz, 1938 †

Genera Unassigned to neither Family nor Order

Genus Boreioconus Guzhov, 2015 †
Genus Costasphaera Gründel & Nützel, 2015 †
Genus Nixipileolus Guzhov, 2015 †



Bouchet, P. and S. Gofas. 2013. Caenogastropoda. Accessed on February 2, 2017 through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=224570.

Kohn, A. J. 2016. Human injuries and fatalities due to venomous marine snails of the family Conidae. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 54(7): 524-538. DOI: 10.5414/CP202630. Link.

Osca, D., J. Templado, and R. Zardoya. 2015. Caenogastropod mitogenomics. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 93: 118-128. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2015.07.011. Link.

Zapata, F., N. G. Wilson, M. Howison, S. C. S. Andrade, K. M. Jörger, M. Schrödl, F. E. Goetz, G. Giribet, and C. W. Dunn. 2014. Phylogenomic analyses of deep gastropod relationships reject Orthogastropoda. Prooceeding of the Royal Society, B, 281: 20141739. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.1739. Link.