Overview

Brief Summary

The Buccinidae is a diverse family of snails (gastropods) also known as the whelks (although the term “whelk” is often not used very specifically, beware). This family comprises about 1500 species.

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Distribution

Besides Colus gracilis (Da Costa, 1778), Neptunea antiqua (Linnaeus, 1758) and Buccinum undatum Linnaeus, 1758, possiblly other (sub-fossil or non-native) Buccinid species occur at the Belgian coast as well.
  • Backeljau, T. (1986). Lijst van de recente mariene mollusken van België [List of the recent marine molluscs of Belgium]. Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen: Brussels, Belgium. 106 pp.
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Bucchinids are distributed world-wide.

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Physical Description

Morphology


Buccinids range from about 1-30 cm in length. Buccinid shells are spindle shaped (fusiform) spirals, generally smooth, and have a large oval opening (aperture), often protected by an operculum. Because the operculum is made of protein it is typically yellow, brown or black in color (rather than white, as are calcified opercula in other families). Another distinguishing characteristic of the shell is a well-defined siphonal canal through with the animal protrudes the siphon – a tube made from the mantle wall for drawing in oxygenated water into the mantle cavity. Buccinid shells can be quite colorful, and sought after by collectors.

(Kozloff 1990; Brusca and Brusca 2003)

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Ecology

Habitat

Most bucchinids are marine, where they occur in a wide range of habitats, from shallow waters to abyssal, in polar to tropical longitudes. The larger species tend to live in colder, more temperate and deeper waters, whereas the smaller species are common in intertidal habitats. There are a small number of freshwater whelks, almost all of which belong to the Asian genus Clea (about 11 species).

(Kozloff 1990)

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Trophic Strategy

Buccinids are carnivorous; some hunt their prey and others scavenge. They have a wide, mostly invertebrate diet including urchins, worms, crustaceans and bivalves, although some also eat small fishes. Buccinids have strong chemosensory abilities. As water passes through their siphon into their mantle cavity, it flows through the osphradium, the bucchinid version of a nose. They can smell their prey up to several meters away. Buccinids also have a formidable proboscis, which can protrude up two times as long their body length. At the end of the proboscis, they have a “radula” which can have one or two teeth modified as harpoons for piercing or cutting prey. In other types, the radular teeth are modified for drilling through calcarious shells of bivalves or barnacles. Typically they also apply shell-softening chelating chemicals secreted from a gland in the foot, to make a clean hole in the shell big enough to pass their proboscis and buccal (mouth) tube through to eat the soft tissues.

(Kozloff 1990; Brusca and Brusca 2003)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:1,250Public Records:500
Specimens with Sequences:834Public Species:82
Specimens with Barcodes:825Public BINs:86
Species:220         
Species With Barcodes:152         
          
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Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Buccinidae

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Genomic DNA is available from 4 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Queensland Museum
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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen with morphological vouchers housed at Queensland Museum
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

The buccinid species Buccinum undatum (the Common Whelk) is eaten widely, especially in Europe and Asia. There is some concern about conducting research to properly regulating this new fishing industry in Maine to properly manage the species as its popularity grows. (Department of Marine Resources. http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/whelks.html)

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Wikipedia

Buccinidae

Buccinidae is a very large and diverse taxonomic family of large sea snails, often known as whelks or true whelks.[2]

True whelks are mostly marine (with some genera freshwater) gastropod mollusks in the clade Neogastropoda. The family includes more than 1500 species.

Habitat[edit]

The true whelks occur worldwide in all seas from tropical oceans to the cold seas of the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean. They are found from the intertidal to the bathypelagic zone. Most prefer a solid bottom, but some inhabit sandy substrates.

Some genera from Buccinidae are freshwater, for example genus Clea.

Description[edit]

The shells of species in this family are moderate to large in size, conical to fusiform in shape. The shell often has deep sutures. The shell surface is generally smooth, sometimes with a spiral and/ or axial sculpture. The thickness of the shell is more pronounced in tropical shallow-water species, while the shell of species living in moderate and colder waters is generally thin or moderately thin. The top of the whorls are more or less shouldered. The radial ribs of the shell sometimes show shoulder knobs. The aperture is large with a well-defined siphonal canal. The rim of the aperture is sometimes used to pry open the shell of bivalves. The aperture is closed by a horny operculum.

The soft body is elongated and spiral. The head has two conical, depressed tentacles which bear the eyes on a lobe or prominence at their base. The mouth contains a long, cylindrical, annulated proboscis and a small tongue. The mantle forms a thin-edged flap over the branchial cavity. On the left side it has an elongated, open canal, that emerges by a notch or groove in the shell. The two gills are elongated, unequal and pectinate (i.e. in a comb-like arrangement). The large foot is generally broad.[3]

True whelks are carnivores and scavengers. They feed on clams, carrion and sometimes even on detritus. Their sense of smell is very well-developed; they can sense chemical signals from their prey from a considerable distance with their osphradium. Many whelks are capable of boring through the shell of bivalves, and because of this some species cause much harm in oyster farms. True whelks can even attack fish caught in a net extending their proboscis to twice the length of their own bodies.

The female whelk lays spongy egg capsules with hundreds of eggs. These form round clusters or a tower-shaped masses. Only about 10% of these eggs hatch. The larvae then feed on the rest of the eggs that have not yet hatched.

The flesh of the common northern whelk, Buccinum undatum, is much appreciated by connoisseurs as a food item, but its consumption is currently somewhat in decline.

The empty shell of a whelk is often used by the hermit crab to make its home.

Egg cases of the common whelk (Buccinum undatum)
Egg cases of the knobbed whelk (Busycon carica), from Delaware Bay

Taxonomy[edit]

According to the taxonomy of the Gastropoda by Bouchet & Rocroi (2005) the family Buccinidae consists of six subfamilies:

Subfamily Buccininae Rafinesque, 1815

  • tribe Ancistrolepidini Habe & Sato, 1973
  • tribe Buccinini Rafinesque, 1815
  • tribe Buccinulini Finlay, 1928
  • tribe Colini Gray, 1857 - synonyms: Neptuneinae Stimpson, 1865; Chrysodominae Dall, 1870; Pyramimitridae Cossmann, 1901; Truncariinae Cossmann, 1901; Metajapelioninae Gorychaev, 1987
  • tribe Cominellini Gray, 1857
  • tribe Liomesini P. Fischer, 1884 - synonym: Buccinopsidae G. O. Sars, 1878 (inv.)
  • tribe Parancistrolepidini Habe, 1972 - synonym: Brevisiphoniinae Lus, 1973
  • tribe Prosiphonini Powell, 1951
  • tribe Volutopsiini Habe & Sato, 1973

Subfamily Beringiinae Golikov & Starobogatov, 1975

Subfamily Busyconinae Wade, 1917 (1867)

  • tribe Busyconini Wade, 1917 (1867) - synonym: Fulgurinae Stoliczka, 1867
  • tribe Busycotypini Petuch, 1994

Subfamily Donovaniinae Casey, 1904 - synonym: Lachesinae L. Bellardi, 1877 (inv.)

Subfamily Pisaniinae Gray, 1857 - synonyms: Photinae Gray, 1857; Pusiostomatidae Iredale, 1940

Subfamily Siphonaliinae Finlay, 1928 - synonym: Austrosiphonidae Cotton & Godfrey, 1938

Genera[edit]

Buccinum undatum on a stamp from the Faroe Islands

Genera within the family Buccinidae include:

subfamily Buccininae

tribe Ancistrolepidini

tribe Buccinini

tribe Buccinulini

tribe Colini

tribe Cominellini

tribe Liomesini

tribe Parancistrolepidini

tribe Prosiphonini

tribe Volutopsiini

Subfamily Beringiinae

subfamily Busyconinae

tribe Busyconini

tribe Busycotypini

subfamily Donovaniinae

subfamily Pisaniinae

subfamily Siphonaliinae

subfamily ?

Genera brought into synonymy

References[edit]

  1. ^ Strong E. E., Gargominy O., Ponder W. F. & Bouchet P. (2008). "Global Diversity of Gastropods (Gastropoda; Mollusca) in Freshwater". Hydrobiologia 595: 149-166. hdl:10088/7390 doi:10.1007/s10750-007-9012-6.
  2. ^ a b Bouchet, P.; Gofas, S. (2010). Buccinidae. In: Bouchet, P.; Gofas, S.; Rosenberg, G. (2010) World Marine Mollusca database. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=149 on 2010-12-30
  3. ^ Macgillivray, William , History of the molluscous animals of Scotland, London, 1844
  4. ^ Petuch E. J. (2002). "New deep water gastropods from the Bimini Shelf, Bimini Chain, Bahamas". Ruthenica 12(1): 59-72. abstract.
  5. ^ K. Fraussen (2008). "Enigmaticolus, a new genus of deep water buccinids (Gastropoda: Buccinidae), with description of a new species from Madagascar". Gloria Maris 46 (4–5): 74–82. [dead link]

Further reading[edit]

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Babyloniidae

Babyloniidae is a taxonomic family of predatory sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks within the superfamily Muricoidea.[1]

Genera and species

Genera and species within the Babyloniidae are as follows:

References

  1. ^ Bouchet, P. & Rocroi, J.-P. (2005). "Classification and Nomenclator of Gastropod Families". Malacologia 47 (1-2). 


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