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Class of molluscs including the winkles and whelks, sea slugs, water snails and land snails and slugs. Characterised by a large flat muscular foot on which they crawl about, and where a shell is present, it is a rounded or conical spirally coiled shell in one piece.

No shell, or have a single shell which is curved into a spiral, a pyramid, or ear-shaped (in our area). Crawl on muscular creeping foot.

Gastropod shell is important both as cover for motile (free-living) organisms, and attachment substrate for sessile (attached) organisms. Many invertebrates, including hermit crabs, polychaetes, slipper shells, tunicates, hydroids, bryozoans, sponges, and anemones commonly live in and on gastropod shell. Gastropod egg cases are also commonly laid on gastropod shell.


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The Class Gastropoda is a member of the Series Percomorpha. Here is the complete "parentage" of Gastropoda:

The Class Gastropoda is further organized into finer groupings including:


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Acochlidiidae are a taxonomic family of shell-less freshwater gastropods (one of them lives in brackish water), aquatic gastropod mollusks within the clade Acochlidiacea. [more]






The clade Aplysiomorpha, commonly known as Sea hares or Sea Bags (Aplysia species and related genera), are medium-sized to very large Opisthobranchia with a soft internal shell made of protein. These are marine gastropod molluscs in the superfamilies Aplysioidea and Akeroidea. [more]


Archaeogastropoda (also known as Aspidobranchia) was a taxonomic order of sea snails used in older classifications of gastropods, i.e. snails and slugs. Archeogastropoda are marine prosobranch gastropod mollusks, mainly herbivores, typically having two gills and a double-chambered heart, with the eggs and sperm discharged directly into the water. They were traditionally regarded as a relatively primitive group. [more]


Architaenioglossa is a taxonomic group of snails which have gills and often an operculum. They are primarily land and freshwater gastropod mollusks within the clade Caenogastropoda. [more]


Basommatophora was a term that was previously used as a taxonomic informal group, a group of snails within the informal group Pulmonata, the air-breathing slugs and snails. According to the taxonomy of the Gastropoda (Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005), whenever monophyly has not been tested, or where a traditional taxon of gastropods has now been discovered to be paraphyletic or polyphyletic, the term "group" or "informal group" was used. [more]


The Bellerophontoidea, (Bellerophontaceae Ulrich & Schofield, 1897, ex Bellerophontidae McCoy 1951), common name "bellerophonts", is a superfamily of extinct planospirally coiled globose molluscs, generally included in the Gastropoda that first appeared late in the Cambrian and continued until late in the Triassic. [more]


Caenogastropoda is a taxonomic clade, a large diverse group which is mostly sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks, but also includes some freshwater snails and some land snails. [more]




Clathrinida is an order of Calcinea. Members of this order have calcareous skeletons, and are strictly marine. These sponges have an asconoid structure and lack a true dermal membrane or cortex. The spongocoel is lined with choanocytes. [more]


The Cocculinoidea, as now designated, is a superfamily of deepwater limpets, marine gastropods, the only superfamily in the clade Cocculiniformia, one of the main clades of gastropods according to the taxonomy as set up by (Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005). Cocciliniformia was previously designated as a superorder, but is no longer. [more]




Euomphalina, is a taxonomic order of extinct sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks, known from fossils. This order includes the extinct superfamilies Euomphaloidea, Macluritoidea, Ophiletoidea, and Platyceratoidea. [more]


The Eupulmonata is a taxonomic clade of air-breathing snails. The great majority of this group are land snails and slugs, but some are marine and some are saltmarsh snails that can tolerate salty conditions. [more]


Sea angels previously known as one kind of pteropod, are a large group of small swimming sea slugs in six different families. These are pelagic marine opisthobranch gastropod molluscs in the clade Gymnosomata within the larger clade Heterobranchia. [more]


Heterobranchia, the heterobranchs (meaning "different-gilled snails") or Euthyneura, is a taxonomic clade of snails and slugs, which includes species from the sea, the land and freshwater; marine, aquatic and terrestrial gastropod mollusks. [more]


Heterostropha was a previously used taxonomic category, an order of sea snails, within the superorder Heterobranchia. In the most current gastropod taxonomy, that of Bouchet & Rocroi, this taxon is no longer in use. [more]


According to the Taxonomy of the Gastropoda (Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005) Hypsogastropoda is a clade of parasitic marine gastropods within the clade Caenogastropoda. [more]


Mesogastropoda was for many years a traditional taxonomic group of snails, an order. The order was composed mostly of sea snails, but it also included some land snails and freshwater snails, all of which were prosobranch gastropod mollusks. [more]










Neogastropoda is an unranked taxonomic clade of sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks. For many years prior to 2005 Neogastropoda was an order. [more]


Neomphalidae is a family of sea snails or limpets, specifically deep sea hydrothermal vent limpets. This family is included in the Vetigastropoda, which is a clade according to the Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005. No subfamilies are included in this family. [more]


The Neotaenioglossa is an taxonomic name for a large group of mostly sea snails. The name was originally created by Haller in 1882. Ponder and War?n (1988), and Marquet (1997), assigned this name to the superorder Caenogastropoda. ITIS considers the order Neotaenioglossa to be a synonym of Cerithioidea F?russac, 1819 . [more]


Neritimorpha is a taxonomic grouping, an unranked clade of snails, gastropod mollusks. This grouping includes land snails, sea snails, some deepwater limpets, and also freshwater snails. This clade was previously known as the superorder Neritopsina. [more]


A nudibranch is a member of what is now a taxonomic clade, and what was previously a suborder, of soft-bodied, marine gastropod mollusks which shed their shell after their larval stage. They are noted for their often extraordinary colors and striking forms. The clade Nudibranchia is the largest clade within the heterobranchs, with more than 3,000 described species. [more]


Opisthobranchs () are a large and diverse group of specialized complex marine gastropods previously united under Opisthobranchia within the Heterobranchia, but no longer considered to represent a monophyletic grouping. Euopisthobrancha is a collection of opisthobranchs that is monophyletic, but this group leaves out some "traditional" opisthobranchs. [more]


Patellogastropoda, common name true limpets and historically called Docoglossa, is a major phylogenetic group of marine gastropods, seen either as a clade or as a taxonomic order. [more]


Perciformes, also called the Percomorphi or Acanthopteri, is one of the largest orders of vertebrates, containing about 40% of all bony fish. Perciformes means "perch-like". They belong to the class of ray-finned fish, and comprise over 7,000 species found in almost all aquatic environments. It contains about 155 families, which is the most of any order within the vertebrates. They are also the most variably sized order of vertebrates, ranging from the 7 millimeters (0.28 in) Schindleria brevipinguis to the 5 meters (16 ft) Makaira species. They first appeared and diversified in the Late Cretaceous. Among well-known members of this group are cichlids, sunfish/bluegill, damselfish, bass, and, of course, perch. [more]


Not to be confused with the bivalve order Protobranchia. [more]




The Pulmonata, or "pulmonates", are an informal group (previously an order, and before that a subclass) of snails and slugs characterized by the ability to breathe air, by virtue of having a pallial lung instead of a gill, or gills. The group includes many land and freshwater families, and several marine families. [more]


The Rotaliida are a large and abundant group of foraminiferans. They are primarily oceanic benthos, although some are common in shallower waters such as estuaries. They also include many important fossils, such as nummulites. Rotaliids produce hyaline tests, in which the microscopic crystals may be oriented either radially (as in other forams) or obliquely. [more]


Sacoglossa, commonly known as the sacoglossans or the "sap-sucking sea slugs", are a clade of small sea slugs and sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks that belong to the clade Heterobranchia. Sacoglossans live by ingesting the internal contents of algae, hence the adjective "sap-sucking". [more]


Sorbeoconcha is a taxonomic clade of snails, i.e. gastropods, mainly marine species with gills and opercula, within the clade Caenogastropoda. [more]






Stylommatophora is a taxon of air-breathing land snails and slugs, terrestrial pulmonate gastropod molluscs. This taxon is currently considered to be a clade. It was previously regarded as an infraorder (also sometimes was considered to be an order). This taxon includes the majority of land snails and slugs. [more]


Sea butterflies, also known as Thecosomata or flapping snails, are a taxonomic suborder of small pelagic swimming sea snails. These are holoplanktonic opisthobranch gastropod mollusks in the informal group Opisthobranchia. They include some of the world's most abundant gastropod species. [more]


Vetigastropoda is a major taxonomic group of sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks that form a very ancient lineage. Taxonomically Vetigastropoda are sometimes treated as an order although they are a clade in Bouchet and Rocroi, 2005. [more]

At least 1,628 species and subspecies belong to the Order Vetigastropoda.

More info about the Order Vetigastropoda may be found here.


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Last Revised: October 03, 2013
2013/10/03 16:01:54