Family Mitridae - miter shells

  Order
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  Class
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Gastropoda
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  Environment
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Fresh : No | Brackish : No | Marine : Yes
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  Remark
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Shell fusiform-ovate, with a high, tapering spire and a rather narrow aperture. Surface smooth or with a predominantly spiral sculpture. Periostracum thin or absent. Aperture elongate, anteriorly notched by a short siphonal canal. Outer lip smooth to crenulate on the margin, not lirate inside. Columella with a few strong spiral folds, the larger ones situated posteriorly. No operculum. Head relatively small and narrow, with a pair of closely set, elongate tentacles bearing eyes on their outer sides. Snout extensible, very long, with a large mouth. Foot small, triangular, usually truncate anteriorly. Mostly inhabiting littoral and shallow waters of tropical and subtropical seas, but also occurring deeper on the continental shelf and slope. Sometimes living on hard bottoms in coral reefs (resting in rock crevices or under stones and corals during the day), but more often burrowing in sand and leaving behind a conspicuous trail. Carnivores or carrion-feeders, mainly feeding on sipunculid worms and other gastropods which are swallowed whole or in chunks. Some species can secrete a pungent purple fluid from a mantle gland, as a defense mechanism. Sexes separate, fertilization internal. Eggs laid in tall and oblong capsules with a short and narrow stalk, attached to stones or shells by a flat disk. Numerous eggs enclosed in each capsule, generally hatching as free-swimming, planktonic larvae. Mitridae are mostly collected for their beautiful shells which are prized among collectors and currently utilized in the shellcraft industries (Ref. 349).
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Ref.
[ e.g. 9948]                       
Glossary
                    [ e.g. cephalopods]


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