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Aporrhais pespelecani 8 cropped.jpg
A shell of Aporrhais pespelecani, from Catalonia, Spain
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda

clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Littorinimorpha

Superfamily: Stromboidea
Family: Aporrhaidae
Gray, 1850[1]

See text

Aporrhaidae, common name pelican's foot snails, is a taxonomic family of sea snails. The taxonomy of the Gastropoda by Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005[2] categorizes Aporrhaidae as marine gastropod mollusks in the clade Littorinimorpha.

Aporrhaidae are commercially important, especially in traditional fisheries.[3]


Aporrhaidae have a large lip with finger-like extensions, and a small operculum. They do not have movable eyes. Instead, their eyes are fixed at the base of each tentacle.[4]

The mollusk has one narrow foot, which renders its motion interrupted as the foot must raise the shell a tiny bit in each single movement, simultaneously pushing it forward. The motion must be repeated again and again for the mollusk to travel. [5]


Aporrhaidae live on muddy and sandy bottoms, sometimes in very large populations.


Subfamilies in the family Aporrhaidae include:

  • Aporrhainae Gray, 1850 - synonym: Chenopidae Deshayes, 1865
  • Arrhoginae Popenoe, 1983 - synonyms: Alariidae Koken, 1889 (inv.); Dicrolomatidae Korotkov, 1992
  • † Harpagonidae Pchelintsev, 1963
  • † Perissopterinae Korotkov, 1992 - synonym: Struthiopterinae Zinsmeister & Griffin, 1995
  • † Spinigerinae Korotkov, 1992 (inv.)
Aporrhais from the Pliocene of Cyprus.


There are only two Recent genera:[6][7]

Fossil genera within the family Aporrhaidae include:


  1. ^ Gray J. E. 1850. Figures of molluscous animals selected from various authors. Etched for the use of students by M. E. Gray. Volume 4. Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, London. iv+219 pp. Apporhaidae at page 66.
  2. ^ Bouchet P. & Rocroi J.-P. (Ed.); Frýda J., Hausdorf B., Ponder W., Valdes A. & Warén A. 2005. Classification and nomenclator of gastropod families. Malacologia: International Journal of Malacology, 47(1-2). ConchBooks: Hackenheim, Germany. ISBN 3-925919-72-4. ISSN 0076-2997. 397 pp. http://www.vliz.be/Vmdcdata/imis2/ref.php?refid=78278
  3. ^ http://www.sportesport.it/shellsGA18.htm
  4. ^ http://shells.tricity.wsu.edu/ArcherdShellCollection/Gastropoda/Aporrhaidae.html
  5. ^ http://www.treknature.com/gallery/photo154498.htm
  6. ^ Gofas, S. (2012). Aporrhaidae. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=22988 on 2012-09-27
  7. ^ Kronenberg, G.C. 1991: The Recent species of the family Aporrhaidae. Vita marina, 41(2): 73-84.
  8. ^ Gründel, J., Nützel A. & Schulbert C. (24 July) 2009. Toarctocera (Gastropoda, Aporrhaidae): a new genus from the Jurassic (Toarcian/Aalenian) of South Germany and the early evolutionary history of the family Aporrhaidae. Paläontologische Zeitschrift (online), PDF

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