Odostomia pallida, O. conoidea, O. conspicua, O. truncatula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Clade: Heterobranchia
Clade: Euthyneura
Clade: Panpulmonata
Superfamily: Pyramidelloidea
Family: Pyramidellidae
Subfamily: Odostominae
P. Pelseneer, 1928[1]

synonyms of Odostomiini:

  • Ptychostomonidae Locard, 1886
  • Liostomiini Schander, Halanych, Dahlgren & Sundberg, 2003[3] (n.a.)

Odostomiinae, Odostomia snails and their allies, is a taxonomic subfamily of minute parasitic sea snails. These are marine heterobranch gastropod mollusks, or micromollusks, in the family Pyramidellidae.


The subfamily Odostomiinae has been recognized as monophyletic.[4]

It includes the tribe Liostomini, a name given to those genera which have an intorted protoconch. The rest of the genera however do not form a single monophyletic taxon.

Subfamily Odostomiinae has been classified as one of eleven recognised subfamilies of the very voluminous gastropod family Pyramidellidae (according to the taxonomy of Ponder & Lindberg 1997):[5] Odostomiinae, Turbonillinae, Chrysallidinae, Cingulininae, Cyclostremellinae, Sayellinae, Syrnolinae, Eulimellinae, Pyramidellinae, Odostomellinae and Tiberiinae.

In the taxonomy of Bouchet & Rocroi (2005),[2] this subfamily also comprises the subfamilies Chrysallidinae, Cyclostremellinae and Odostomellinae, that they have downgraded to the rank of tribe.

subfamily Odostomiinae Pelseneer, 1928

According to Schander, Van Aartsen and Corgan (1999) there are 33 genera in Odostominae with four possible additional genera of uncertain status.[6]


Genera in the subfamily Odostomiinae include:

tribe Odostomiini

tribe Chrysallidini

Main article: Chrysallidini

tribe Cyclostremellini

Main article: Cyclostremellini

tribe Odostomellini

Main article: Odostomellini

Additional genera

Some additional genera which may belong in the subfamily Odostomiinae are:


This family is found worldwide, from the tropics to the poles.

Shell description

The shell of these snails has a blunt, heterostrophic protoconch, which is often pointed sideways or wrapped up. Most species in the subfamily have shells which are smaller than 13 mm. The texture of these shells is most often smooth but sometimes sculptured in various forms such as ribs and spirals. Their color is mostly white, cream or yellowish, sometimes with red or brown lines. The teleoconch is dextrally coiled, but the larval shells are sinistral. This results in a sinistrally coiled protoconch. The columella has usually one, but sometimes several, spiral folds. The aperture is closed by an operculum.

Life habits

The Odostomiinae are ectoparasites, feeding mainly on other molluscs and on annelid worms, but some are known to feed on peanut worms and crustaceans.[7]

They do not have a radula. Instead their long proboscis is used to pierce the skin of its prey and suck up its fluids and soft tissues. The eyes on the grooved tentacles are situated toward the base of the tentacles. Between the head and the foot, a lobed process called the mentum ( = thin projection) is visible. These molluscs are hermaphrodites.


  1. Pelseneer, P. (1928). "Les Parasites des Mollusques et les Mollusques parasites". Bulletin de la Sociéte Zoologique de France/Évolution et Zoologie. 53: 158–189.
  2. 1 2 Bouchet P.; Rocroi J.-P.; Frýda J.; Hausdorf B.; Ponder W.; Valdés Á. & Warén A. (2005). "Classification and nomenclator of gastropod families". Malacologia: International Journal of Malacology. Hackenheim, Germany: ConchBooks. 47 (1-2): 1–397. ISBN 3-925919-72-4. ISSN 0076-2997.
  3. Schander C., Halanych K. M., Dahlgren T. & Sundberg, P. (2003). "Test of the monophyly of Odostomiinae and Turbonillinae (Gastropoda, Heterobranchia, Pyramidellidae) based on 16S mtDNA sequences". Zoologica Scripta. 32 (3): 243–254. doi:10.1046/j.1463-6409.2003.00112.x.
  4. Dinapoli, Angela; Carmen Zinnsmeister; Annette Klussmann-Kolb (10 September 2010). "New insights into the phylogeny of the Pyramidellidae (Gastropoda)". Journal of Molluscan Studies. 77 (1): 1–7. doi:10.1093/mollus/eyq027. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
  5. Ponder, W.F. & Lindberg, D. R. (1997). "Towards a phylogeny of gastropod molluscs: an analysis using morphological characters". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 119 (2): 88–265. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.1997.tb00137.x.
  6. Schander, C., van Aartsen, J. J., Corgan, J. C. (1999). "Families and genera of the Pyramidelloidea (Mollusca: Gastropoda)". Bollettino Malacologico. 34 (9-12): 145–166.
  7. Sneli J.-A. (1972). "Odostomia turrita found on Hommarus gammarus". Nautilus. 86 (1): 23–24.
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