Brachystomia eulimoides, Melanella conoidea, Odostomia conspicua, Jordaniella truncatula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Heterobranchia
clade Euthyneura
clade Panpulmonata
Superfamily: Pyramidelloidea
Family: Pyramidellidae
Subfamily: Odostomiinae
Genus: Odostomia
Fleming, 1813
Type species
Turbo plicatus Montagu, G., 1803

See text

  • Brachystomia Monterosato, 1884
  • Odontostoma Philippi, 1853 (Invalid: unjustified emendation of Odostomia)
  • Odontostomia G.B. Sowerby I, 1839 (Invalid: unjustified emendation of Odostomia)
  • Odostomia (Brachystomia) Monterosato, 1884
  • Odostomia (Cyclodostomia) Sacco, 1892
  • Odostomia (Odostomia) Fleming, 1813
  • Odostomia (Pyramistomia) Cossmann, 1921
  • Ptychostomon Locard, 1886

Odostomia is the most speciose genus of minute sea snails, pyramidellid gastropod mollusks. This genus is placed in the family Pyramidellidae in the subfamily Odostomiinae. There are several hundred species in this diverse genus (Schander et al. 1999) [1][2][3]

Most of the description of species in the genus Odostomia was carried out by Dall & Bartsch in 1909.[4] Many of the described species are however suspected of being synonyms, or are proven synonyms.

The genus Odostomia Fleming, 1813 was used by XIXth century authors, particularly in the European literature, for most of the smaller Pyramidellidae. It is still a catchall for most snall pyramidellids lacking both axial and spiral sculpture. Some authors, e.g. Høisæter (2014), Peñas, Rolán & Swinnen (2014) and Giannuzzi-Savelli et al. (2014) who are here followed have attemptted to redistribute some of the species, but there are still many species remaining unduly under Odostomia. For these, the database WoRMS has refrained from making new combinations not backed by (or implicit from) a published source but, unless otherwise noted, the species that were already "accepted" under a subgenus now raised to full genus have been marked as "accepted" under that full genus.[1]

The European and American species of Odostomia differ in several anatomical and shell characteristics. They are therefore likely to be assigned to different genera.[5]


The genus Odostomia is common in all oceans from the tropics to the polar regions. It is mainly known from coastal areas and sandy shores, and is less common in the deep sea.


There is little known about their life histories. Most species are only known from their shells.

Most species have a white of yellowish, minute, conical to ovate-conical shell, usually between 2 mm and 5 mm. The apex is rather obtuse or nipple-shaped, sinistrally or dextrally oriented to the teloconch. The protoconch is usually deeply immersed in the first of the succeeding turns. The shells are variously sculptured, usually with a microsculpture. The teleoconch contains in most cases between 4 and 6 whorls. The body whorl is usually large, comprising 50-60% of the total length. The aperture is suboval to ovate with the peristome incomplete behind. There is usually a tooth-like fold on the columella. The shells usually have a small umbilicus or none at all.[6][7]

Life habits

The members of Odostomia are ectoparasites on other molluscs, and polychaetes. First they pierce the body wall with the buccal stylet and then feed on them by sucking blood with their buccal pump. They have become a pest of oysters, mussels, scallops and slipper limpets.[8] Most of the Odostomia species are host-specific, only a few are not. Odostomia scalaris MacGillivray, 1843 is an ectoparasite on a wide range of hosts but especially known as a pest of mussels. Odostomia turrita Hanley, 1844 has been found on the European lobster Homarus gammarus (Linnaeus, 1758).[9]


Odostomia fusulus Monterosato, 1878

Species within the genus Odostomia include:[1]


The following species were brought into synonymy:[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Bouchet, P.; Gofas, S. (2011). Odostomia Fleming, 1813. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=138413 on 3 June 2012
  2. Gofas, S.; Le Renard, J.; Bouchet, P. (2001). Mollusca, in: Costello, M.J. et al. (Ed.) (2001). European register of marine species: a check-list of the marine species in Europe and a bibliography of guides to their identification. Collection Patrimoines Naturels, 50: pp. 180-213
  3. Spencer, H.; Marshall. B. (2009). All Mollusca except Opisthobranchia. In: Gordon, D. (Ed.) (2009). New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity. Volume One: Kingdom Animalia. 584 pp
  4. Dall & Bartsch, A Monograph of West American Pyramidellid Mollusks, United States National Museum Bulletin 68, 1909
  5. National Audubon Society (1996), Field Guide to North American Seashells, ISBN 0-394-51913-2
  6. Macgillivray, William , History of the molluscous animals of Scotland; London, 1844
  7. Rachel Collin & John B. Wise (1996), Morphology and development of Odostomia columbiana Dall & Bartsch, 1909 (Pyramidellidae); Implications for the Evolution of gastropod Development, Biol. Bull. 192: 243-252. (April, 1997)
  8. H. A. Cole and D. A. Hancock, Odostomia as a pest of oysters and mussels; Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (1955), 34 : pp 25-31
  9. Sneli, J.-A. (1972). Odostomia turrita found on Homarus gammarus Nautilus: Maandblad van het Koninklijk Belgisch Zeemanscollege = Nautilus: Revue mensuelle du Collège Royal Maritime Belge 86(1): 23
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 William Healy Dall and Paul Bartsch , "A Monograph of West American Pyramidellid Mollusks" , Smithsonian Institution, 1909
  11. Dall & Bartsch, Notes on Japanese, Indo-Pacific and American Pyramidellidae; Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum, vol XXX n° 1452; 1906
  12. A guide to the seashells and other marine molluscs of Tasmania : Odostomia occultidens
  13. OBIS:Odostomia tasmanica
  14. OBIS: Odostomia omaensis
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