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Family  Cornirostridae





Shells of the Cornirostridae are minute (up to 2.5 mm in diameter when adult), depressed-trochifom in shape with a flat to low spire, and are usually umbilicate. The family was described by Winston  Ponder in 1990, based on  Microdiscula pellucida, which had been described by Charles Laseron in 1954. Laseron, working with only dead shells, had placed this NSW species, along with other minute, smooth species, in the Liotiidae, but Ponder collected a quantity of living specimens and was able to examine the animal in detail. He found it to be far removed anatomically from the Liotiidae, and established a new genus Cornirostra, giving rise to the family Cornirostridae.

Cornirostrids live intertidally and in the shallow subtidal. They appear to be distributed world-wide, with species reported from the North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea, Central Western Atlantic (Florida, Cuba), Northern Pacific (Midway Island), Western Pacific (eastern Australia, Japan), Indian Ocean (Western Australia) and Red Sea. There are now about 15 species described in the family but still only the one species known from NSW.

Family References

Ponder, W.F. 1990. The anatomy and relationships of a marine valvatoidean (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia). Journal of Molluscan Studies 56: 533–555.

Rubio, F., Rolán, E. & Fernández-Garcés, R. 2013. Heterobranch Gastropods from Cuba: the family Cornirostridae (Heterobranchia, Valvatoidea). Iberus 31(1): 75–85.

Ponder, W.F. & de Keyzer, R.G. 1998. Family Cornirostridae. pp. 856 in Beesley, P.L., Ross, G.J.B. & Wells, A. (eds). Mollusca: The Southern Synthesis. Fauna of Australia. Melbourne : CSIRO Publishing Vol. 5 (Part B) pp. vi-viii, 565-1234.


The only NSW species is detailed here.

Identification Notes

Shells of Cornirostridae are difficult to distinguish from some species of Skeneidae and Tornidae. The family placement is best achieved by comparison of the animals. The external features of the Cornirostridae are given by Ponder & de Keyzer (1998).


Copyright Des Beechey 2016