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Alviniconcha hessleri.jpg
Two preserved specimens of Alviniconcha hessleri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
Superfamily: Abyssochrysoidea
Family: Provannidae
Genus: Alviniconcha
Okutani & Ohta, 1988
Type species
Alviniconcha hessleri
Okutani & Ohta, 1988

See text

Alviniconcha is a genus of deep water sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Provannidae.[1] These snails are part of the fauna of the hydrothermal vents in the Indian and Western Pacific Ocean.[2] These and another genus and species within the same family (Ifremeria nautilei) are the only known currently existing animals whose nutrition is derived from an endosymbiotic relationship with proteobacteria: a member of bacteria from class Epsilonproteobacteria occurs as an endosymbiont of the gills of Alviniconcha hessleri.[3]


The size of the shell varies between 25 mm and 30 mm. The surface of the shell is studded with hairs on the periostracum, Individuals variation in shell size and the arrangement of the hairs, but the variation does not correspond to individual species.[2]


Until 2014, Alviniconcha consisted solely of the species Alviniconcha hessleri, described in 1988. In 2014, increased recognition of genetic differences between populations resulted in the formal description of five cryptic species within the former A. hessleri that are morphologically indistinguishable from each other but that have consistent differences in mitochondrial DNA sequences.[2]

Species within the genus Alviniconcha include:

  • Alviniconcha adamantis S.B. Johnson, Warén, Tunnicliffe, Van Dover, Wheat, Schultz & Vrijenhoek, 2014
  • Alviniconcha boucheti S.B. Johnson, Warén, Tunnicliffe, Van Dover, Wheat, Schultz & Vrijenhoek, 2014
  • Alviniconcha hessleri Okutani & Ohta, 1988
  • Alviniconcha kojimai S.B. Johnson, Warén, Tunnicliffe, Van Dover, Wheat, Schultz & Vrijenhoek, 2014
  • Alviniconcha marisindica Okutani, 2014
  • Alviniconcha strummeri S.B. Johnson, Warén, Tunnicliffe, Van Dover, Wheat, Schultz & Vrijenhoek, 2014 (named after punk musician Joe Strummer of The Clash)[4]


  1. ^ Bouchet, P. (2013). Alviniconcha Okutani & Ohta, 1988. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at on 2013-06-25
  2. ^ a b c Johnson, Shannon B.; Warén, Anders; Tunnicliffe, Verena; Dover, Cindy Van; Wheat, C. Geoffrey; Schultz, Thomas F.; Vrijenhoek, Robert C. (2014). "Molecular taxonomy and naming of five cryptic species of Alviniconcha snails (Gastropoda: Abyssochrysoidea) from hydrothermal vents". Systematics and Biodiversity: 1–18. doi:10.1080/14772000.2014.970673. 
  3. ^ Yohey Suzuki, Takenori Sasaki, Masae Suzuki, Yuichi Nogi, Tetsuya Miwa, Ken Takai, Kenneth H. Nealson & Koki Horikoshi (September 2005) "Novel Chemoautotrophic Endosymbiosis between a Member of the Epsilonproteobacteria and the Hydrothermal-Vent Gastropod Alviniconcha aff. hessleri (Gastropoda: Provannidae) from the Indian Ocean". Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71(9): 5440-5450. doi:10.1128/AEM.71.9.5440-5450.2005
  4. ^ A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker, at National Public Radio; published December 20, 2014; retrieved March 18, 2015
  • Healy, J.M. 1992, Dimorphic spermatozoa of the hydrothermal vent prosobranch Alviniconcha hessleri: systematic importance and comparison with other caenogastropods; Bull. Mus. Natl. His. Nat. Paris 4 sér A 14: 273-291
  • Desbruyères, D., M. Segonzac & M. Bright (eds.). 2006. Handbook of Deep-sea Hydrothermal Vent Fauna. Second Edition Denisia 18:1-544. (Copepods 316-355)(Polychaeta 183-296)

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