Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropods > Cerithiidae

SuperFamily: "The Ceriths" (Cerithioidea)


"Ceriths," as a general term, refers to the superfamily, Cerithioidea, which includes many individual families: e.g., the Cerithiidae, Battillariidae, Potamididae, Thiaridae families, and the Cerithiinae subfamily. Within this superfamily, air-breathing as well as gill breathing ceriths are found; e.g., the Thiaridae.

The Cerithiidae are a major family of ceriths. It has mainly shallow-water dwellers and comprises 200 species. Most are distributed in the tropics and live in large colonies, feeding on mud detritus and decayed algae. Some genera are very small, such as Bittium and Triforis, the latter of which uniquely has sinistral (left coiling) shells. Species in the larger genera, Cerithium and Rhynoclavis, are about 2.5 cm in size.

Species of the Cerithiidae all have a horny operculum showing only a few whorls (paucispiral) according to Abbott & Dance. This family also shares many features in common with the closely related Potamididae family, but a hallmark of the Cerithiidae is the dramatically developed anterior notch, visible in the photograph at the right.

Within the superfamily, Cerithioidea, a subfamily, Cerithiinae exists, which had been considered extinct for many years. However, live specimens of this subfamily had been reported in Nicaragua and Honduras; namely, Cerithioclava garciae, Houbrick, 1986, see Inchaugstegui, 2014.

Class: Gastropoda
Clade: Sorbeconcha
Superfamily: Cerithioidea
Family: Cerithiidae
SubFamily: Cerithiinae
Genera of the Cerithiidae Family
  • Genus: Campanile
  • Genus: Cerithium
  • Genus: Clypeomorus
  • Genus: Gourmya
  • Genus: Pseudovertagus
  • Genus: Rhinoclavis
  • Genus: Cerithioclava

Rhinoclavis sinensis (Gmelin, 1791)
synonym, Rhinoclavis obeliscus
Obelisk Vertigus

Pseudovertagus aluco (Linnaeus, 1758)
(Cerithium cummingi)
Cumming's Cerith

Cerithioclava garciai
Houbrick, 1986
Garcia's Cerith
SubFamily: Cerithiinae
an extant "fossil" species
(photo by Tom Eichorst, 2014)



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Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropoda > Ceriths