Collin Lab

Calyptraeid Phylogeny and Taxonomy

Your Web Resource for Calyptraeid Research

The family Calpytraeidae is made up of three genera: Crepidula (slipper shells), Crucibulum (cup and saucer shells), Calyptraea (hat shells) and several smaller, less common genera. All of the species have limpet-shaped shells with an internal shelly septum. The genera are distinguished by shell morphology. In Crepidula the shell apex is directed posteriorly and the internal septum is a flat shelf that attaches along both sides of the shell. In Crucibulum the shell is conical with a central apex and a cup-shaped internal septum. In Calyptraea the shell is conical with a central apex but the internal shelly septum is a coiled ramp. Shells are often not diagnostic on the species level. Cryptic species often co-occur but they can usually be distinguished on the basis of developmental characters and body pigmentation.

Species in all three genera are suspension-feeders and are therefore most abundant in areas of high productivity. They collect phytoplankton on mucus covering the gill which is then transported to the mouth in a mucus string along the dorsal right side of the neck. The string is drawn into the mouth by the radula.

All calyptraeids are protandrous hermaphrodites: small young animals are males and they change to females as they grow. All species copulate and the females can store sperm for several months. The females deposit eggs into transparent capsules that they brood between the neck and the propodium. In some species planktonic swimming larvae hatch from the capsules, while in others benthic juveniles crawl away from the capsules.

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National Science Foundation

Supported by the US National Science Foundation Grant No. IOS-1019727, Biased Evolutionary Transitions in Mode of Development: Can Differences in Morphology and Digestive Function be Linked to Evolvability of Gastropod Development

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.