- The shells of this family show five unusually distinctive genera, each of which has its
own popular name; e.g., Strombus ("conches"), Lambis
("spider shells"), Terebellum ("torpedos"), Tibia
("shinbone shells"), and Varicospira ("beak shells"). Many
shells in the Strombidae family --particularly Strombus and Lambis, are
ornamented, have colorful patterns, and they are generally solidly constructed. However,
the Terebellum and Tibia genera are not typical of the other genera and tend
instead to be more delicately constructed (see photo gallery, below). The Terebellum
shell, for example, can be easily mistaken for an olive shell (see Olividae).
and spider shells (photo gallery) have a pronounced notch at the front end, the stromboid
notch, through which the gastropod protrudes its eye. A widely flared lip, sometimes
larger than the main shell body, is characteristic especially for Strombus and Lambis.
Mature Lambis shells typically show 4 -5 hollow spines radiating out 180 degrees or
more from the flared lip (photo gallery).
Terebellum (at right) and Tibia shells (photo gallery) do not share
features common to most other conch shells and are rather unique. Nevertheless, in spite
of many differences in shell morphology, the anatomy and functions of the live molluscs
are common to the entire family; i.e., a narrow, peculiarly arched foot bears a relatively
small operculum at its end. This arrangement enables the mollusc to kick or leap, for
escaping predators, rather than gliding like most other gastropods. Also, a complex eye
can be protruded from a long stout stalk at the front end. All of these features in the
living animals are hall marks that clearly identify the Strombidae family, including,
e.g., the Terebellum and Tibia molluscs.
The links (at right) display the highly mobile eyes of several conches. In this family,
the eyes provide keen vision --the keenest of any gastropod species. All species are
tropical, and most live in the intertidal zone or below the low tide zone.
- Class: Gastropoda
- Clade: Littorinimorpha
- Superfamily: Stromboidea
- Family: Strombidae
- Genus: Lambis
- Genus: Strombus
- Genus: Terebellum
- Genus: Tibia
- Genus: Varicospira
Strombus listeri (Gray, 1852)
Terebellum terebellum (Linnaeus, 1758)
LINK --SEE LIVING CONCHES:
SEE MORE SHELL