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The Calyptraeidae, the slipper snails or slipper limpets, cup-and-saucer snails, and Chinese hat snails, are a family of small to medium-sized marine prosobranch gastropods. This family includes the slipper snails (Crepidula species), the Chinese hat snails, (Calyptraea species), and the cup-and-saucer snails (Crucibulum species) among others.

The Calyptraeidae are the only family in the superfamily Calyptraeoidea. This family has no subfamilies according to the taxonomy of the Gastropoda by Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005.

Crepidula fornicata was brought to Europe on imported American oysters in the late 19th century and is now considered a significant pest in European oyster beds.[2]


Internally, the shell is distinguished by a shelf-like, cup-like, or half-cup-like structure used for muscle attachment. Some calyptraeids have shells that externally resemble those of limpets, so species in the genus Crepidula are often called slipper limpets. However, these snails are not closely related to true limpets and are more closely related to conches and cowries. The "slipper" in the name "slipper limpet" is based on the appearance of the inside of the shell, which with its half-shelf resembles a traditional western bedroom slipper.


Calyptraeids may form a tower of up to 25 animals, sometimes referred to as a mating chain. The bottom snail is always female. When she dies, the male above her will change from male to female, and the chain continues.[3]


Genera within the family Calyptraeidae include:[4][5][6]

Genera brought into synonymy 
  • Cheila Modeer, 1793: synonym of Cheilea Modeer, 1793 - this is actually in the Hipponicidae, not the Calyptraeidae.
  • Clypeola Gray, 1868 accepted as Sigapatella Lesson, 1831
  • Crypta Gray, 1847: synonym of Crepidula Lamarck, 1799
  • Ergea H. Adams & A. Adams, 1854: synonym of Siphopatella Lesson, 1831
  • Garnotia Gray, 1857: synonym of Crepidula Lamarck, 1799
  • Ianacus Mörch, 1852 accepted as Crepidula Lamarck, 1799
  • Zeacrypta Finlay, 1926 : synonym of Maoricrypta Finlay, 1926
  • Zegalerus Finlay, 1927 : synonym of Sigapatella Lesson, 1831


  1. ^ Bouchet, P. & Rocroi, J.-P. (2005). "Classification and Nomenclator of Gastropod Families". Malacologia 47 (1-2). 
  2. ^ "Crepidula fornicata". Joint Nature Conservation Committee. 2006-04-24. 
  3. ^ "In Pictures: Strange seas". BBC News. 2010-01-19. 
  4. ^ "Calyptraeidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  5. ^ Powell A. W. B. (1979) New Zealand Mollusca. William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand, ISBN 0-00-216906-1.
  6. ^ Calyptraeidae[dead link] at


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