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An individual of Janthina (with bubble float) that has been cast up onto a beach. The snail floats with the underside of the shell uppermost as shown here.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda

clade Hypsogastropoda
informal group Ptenoglossa

Superfamily: Epitonioidea
Family: Janthinidae
Lamarck, 1822

See text


Ianthinidae ( 19th century authors used indifferently the spellings Janthina / Ianthina and Janthinidae / Ianthinidae. The nomenclaturally valid name is Janthinidae, but the spelling Ianthinidae has remained sporadically in use throughout the 20th century.)

Janthinidae, common name the purple snails or violet snails, are a family of pelagic sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the informal group Ptenoglossa of the clade Hypsogastropoda.

This planktonic group has modified its foot to produce "rafts" of mucus bubbles used in flotation.[1]


Genera in the family Janthinidae include:[2]

The following genera have been brought into synonymy 
  • Iodes Mörch, 1860: synonym of Janthina Röding, 1798
  • Iodina Mörch, 1860 : synonym of Janthina Röding, 1798


  • Laursen, D. 1953. The genus Ianthina: A monograph. Dana Report 38: 1-40, pl. 1
  • Vaught, K.C. (1989). A classification of the living Mollusca. American Malacologists: Melbourne, FL (USA). ISBN 0-915826-22-4. XII, 195 pp.
  • Bouchet P. & Rocroi J.-P. (2005) Classification and nomenclator of gastropod families. Malacologia 47(1-2): 1-397

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