Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropoda > Cerithiidae

Family: Cerithiidae (Ceriths)

The Cerithiidae are a major family of mainly shallow-water dwellers with more than 200 species, mostly distributed in the tropics. They 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 have sinistral (left coiling) shells. Species in the larger genera, Cerithium and Rhynoclavis, are about 2.5 cm in size. Ceriths, as a specific family, have a horny operculum showing only a few whorls (paucispiral) according to Abbott & Dance. The family 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.

"Ceriths," as a general term, refer to the superfamily, Cerithioidea, which includes the Cerithidae, Battillariidae, Potamididae, and Thiaridae families. Air-breathing as well as gill breathing ceriths are found among these families, e.g., Pyrazus ebeninus.

Within the superfamily, Cerithioidea, a subfamily, Cerithiinae, exists, which had been considered extinct for many years. Live specimens of this subfamily have been found in Nicaragua and Honduras, in particular Cerithioclava garciae Houbrick, 1986 (see Inchaugstegui, 2041.

Class: Gastropoda
Clade: Sorbeconcha
Superfamily: Cerithioidea
Family: Cerithiidae
Major Genera
  • Genus: Campanile
  • Genus: Cerithium
  • Genus: Clypeomorus
  • Genus: Gourmya
  • Genus: Pseudovertagus
  • Genus: Rhinoclavis

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

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



Cerithioidea (Ceriths)
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Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropoda > Ceriths