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Family  Cliidae





This is family of sea butterflies, based on the genus Clio. This family of molluscs has for a long time been known as Clioidae, or the subfamily Clioinae in the family Cavoliniidae, however recent genetic research has resulted in it being placed in its own family. To prevent confusion with another family of sponges, Clionidae, the ICZN changed the name of the family of molluscs back to its original spelling Cliidae. The external shell is transparent, fragile and colourless. Its shape is basically conical, either straight or curved, with a rounded, ovate or triangular cross section. Each side has a lateral rib. Thecate hydroids are sometimes found attached to cliid shells. One member of the genus Clio, C. pyramidata, is famous for its extraordinary method of asexual reproduction. Under laboratory conditions, and also supposedly under adverse conditions in the wild, a normal individual divides its body transversely (strobilates) and a new individual is formed below the body of the adult inside its shell. This "aberrant stage" as it is called is characterised by a small animal with very little anatomical differentiation.  The NSW species are:

Clio cuspidata (Bosc, 1801)

Clio pyramidata Linnaeus, 1767


Copyright Des Beechey June 2018