Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropoda > Naticidae

Family: Naticidae (Moon shells)

Moon shells are snail-like globular forms with a half moon shaped aperture. Some flattened, disk-like species also exist. Typically, a thick rib-like callus obscures the umbilicus, and the aperture lip is fringed by a thin sharp edge. In life, mantle flaps from each side cover the shell, protecting its lustrous finish. Although their shell characteristics are very similar, molecular data now are showing that several Naticid genera belong to other taxa. For example, N. alapapiliones, N. acinonyx, N. multipunctata, etc., all group together in a separate taxon, perhaps the genus Glyphepithema .

These molluscs are largely found in sea floor sand of the tropics, but also in waters beyond the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. They make a living by plowing just below the surface. When they find another mollusc, it is enveloped by their massive foot --often too large to be withdrawn into the shell. The rasp-like radula is then applied to drill an extremely neat, beveled hole. Drilling is facilitated, as it is also in muricids, by an accessory boring organ on the anterior portion of the foot. It secretes a non-acid calcium chelating compound that softens shells.

Eggs are laid in capsules made of sand grains cemented with mucus.

Class: Gastropoda
Clade: Littorinimorpha
Superfamily: Naticoidea
Family: Naticidae
Major Genera
  • Genus: Amauropsis
  • Genus: Globularia
  • Genus: Lunatia
  • Genus: Natica
  • Genus: Neverita
  • Genus: Polinices
  • Genus: Sinum
Natica lineata
Natica lineata (Röding, 1798)
Lined Moon

Neverita helicoides.JPG (45083 bytes)
Neverita helicoides (Gray, 1825)
Spiral Moon



Moon Shell
Photo Gallery



Lunatia heros
Northern Moon Snail
Polynices lewisii
Moon Snail

Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropods > Moon shells