Cerithium litteratum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cerithium litteratum
Cerithium litteratum (Born, 1778) (4311966772).jpg
Cerithium litteratum shell
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
clade Sorbeoconcha
Superfamily: Cerithioidea
Family: Cerithiidae
Genus: Cerithium
Species: C. litteratum
Binomial name
Cerithium litteratum
(Born, 1778)

Cerithium angustum Anton, 1838
Cerithium litteratum playagrandensis Weisbord, 1962
Cerithium semiferrugineum Lamarck, 1822
Murex literatus
Murex litteratus Born, 1778

Cerithium litteratum is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Cerithiidae.[1]


Cerithium litteratum has been living in shallower waters and reefs of the Western Central Atlantic Ocean, from South Carolina to Florida including the Gulf of Mexico in North America over Central America (Belize) to South America (Brazil), and has been documented in the Indian Ocean.[1] It prefers water temperatures and ecosystems associated with a tropical climate.[2] It was judged to be an 'occasional' alien species in the Mediterranean Sea, based on a 1978 find by fishers in the Aegean Sea.[3]


As of 2010 the maximum recorded shell length has been 34 mm.[4]

Habitat and ecology[edit]

As of 2010 the snail has been found between sea level and a maximum recorded depth of 88 m below sea level.[4] which means it lives in the sunlight zone of the pelagic.

The snail is a herbivore, feeding on algae for example.[3] Small hermit crabs, mostly Calcinus tibicen but also Paguristes punticeps and Paguristes cadenati have long been known to move into its empty shells.[5]

Experimental evidence exists, that the snail helps to recruit corals by removing algae on subsurfaces, which compete with the coral's settlement.[6]

Fish prey on the snail, and the Caribbean hogfish, Lachnolaimus maximus for example, can crush the mollusc with its jaw. Biomechanical research has found Cerithium predation to be limited by force, rather than by the gape of the jaw.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Cerithium litteratum (Born, 1778). www.marinespecies.org. Retrieved through: World Register of Marine Species on 24 March 2015.
  2. ^ Cerithium litteratum. sealifebase.org, accessed 9 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b Vittorio Garilli, Evi Vardala Theodorou (September 2005). "Occurrence of the Western Atlantic Cerithium litteratum (Born, 1778) (Gastropoda: Cerithiidae) in The Aegean Sea". NOTIZIARIO S.I.M. Napoli, Italy. 23 (9–12): 34–36. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Welch, J. J. (2010). "The "Island Rule" and Deep-Sea Gastropods: Re-Examining the Evidence". PLoS ONE. 5 (1): e8776. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008776. PMC 2808249Freely accessible. PMID 20098740. 
  5. ^ Craig Didden; Amanda Arnold; Chandler Sella; Darren Brown; Peter J. Edmunds (2011). "The Distribution of Cerithium litteratum along the coast of St. John, US Virgin Islands, and the use of its shells by hermit crabs" (PDF). viewpoint.org. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Sarah W. Davies; Mikhail V. Matz; Peter D. Vize (9 September 2013). "Ecological Complexity of Coral Recruitment Processes: Effects of Invertebrate Herbivores on Coral Recruitment and Growth Depends Upon Substratum Properties and Coral Species". PLOS ONE. 8 (9): e72830. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072830. PMC 3767691Freely accessible. PMID 24039807. 
  7. ^ Peter C. Wainwright (October 1987). "Biomechanical limits to ecological performance: mollusc-crushing by the Caribbean hogfish, Lachnolaimus maximus (Labridae)". Journal of Zoology. 213 (2): 283–297. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1987.tb03704.x. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 

External links[edit]