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Family  Tofanellidae

Toffee Shells




The Tofanellidae is a family of minute molluscs named in 1995 from a fossil from deposits at the mountain La Tofana in Italy. The distinctive feature of the family is the protoconch, in which the embryonic shell is sinistral and immersed in the apex of the larval shell. The rounded whorls of the larval shell gradually change from sinistral coiling to planispiral and finally to dextral coiling (Bandel, 1995).

WoRMS (World Register of Marine Species) recognises five recent genera and 27 species in the family world-wide.. Only two genera occur in NSW - Coenaculum with one species and Graphis with two species. Two of these species were described a century ago and the third in 1951but without an understanding of their anatomy and protoconch structure, they have been placed in a variety of families including Pyramidellidae and Rissoidae, until recently being placed in Tofanellidae.

Apart from the original descriptions of the species, the only mentions in Australian literature have been in checklists and in the treatment of Pyramidellidae by Laseron (1951).

Family Reference

Bandel, K, 1995. Mathildoidea (Gastropoda, Heterostropha) from the late Triassic St. Cassian Formation. Geologica Sctripta 111:1-83


The species recognised in the literature as occurring in NSW are treated here, but given the developing understanding of the group there is no certainty that all species have been included.

Identification Notes

Placement of the species in this family relies on the structure of the protoconch, as mentioned above.


Copyright Des Beechey 2017