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A live individual of Marginella mosaica, head end towards the right
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Neogastropoda
Superfamily: Muricoidea
Family: Marginellidae
Fleming, 1828
2 freshwater species, others are marine

Marginellidae, or the margin shells, are a taxonomic family of small, often colorful, sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs in the clade Neogastropoda.


The higher classification of the family Marginellidae has long been in a state of confusion. Many popular works still treat all members of this family under the single genus Marginella, basing them primarily on superficial similarities of the shell.

The confusion over the classification stems from the fact that the earlier classifications were based rather crudely on shell characters. Although many good differential shell characters do exist within this group, those characters were generally misinterpreted or not recognized as significant. Such information as did exist on the radulae and the external anatomy of the living animals was widely scattered in the scientific literature, and internal anatomical descriptions were not available until fairly recently.

Shell description[edit]

The shell of Marginellidae is usually small, but varies in different species from minute to medium-sized. The external color of the shell can be white, cream, yellow, orange, red, or brown, and can be uniformly colored, or patterned in various ways. The protoconch is paucispiral. The lip of the shell is thickened, and can be smooth or denticulate. An external varix may be present or absent, a siphonal notch may be present or absent. The columella may have 2-6 plications. The operculum is absent in this family.


Abbreviations and conventions:

  • (M) - original designation by monotype
  • OD - original designation
  • OD (M) - original designation as type species, but also monotypic
  • SD - subsequent designation as type
  • SD (M) - subsequent designation as type species, but also monotypic
  • T - original designation by tautonomy

In the systematic, the following sequence is used for each generic synonym:

  • Genus in original combination, followed by author, year, page number(s)
  • Designation of type species followed by author, year, page number(s)
  • Reference only to Type species

Marginellidae Fleming, 1828:328

Subfamily Granulininae: This subfamily was originally placed in family Cystiscidae by Coovert & Coovert (1995)[2] but placed back in Marginellidae, following La Perna (1999) and based on the morphology of living animals.

Subfamily MARGINELLONINAE Coan 1965:186,191

Genus Afrivoluta Tomlin, 1947:244
Afrivoluta pringlei Tomlin, 1947; OD (M)
Genus Marginellona Martens, 1904
Marginella (M.) gigas Martens, 1904; (M)
Subfamily MARGINELLINAE Fleming, 1828:328
Genus Caribeginella Espinosa & Ortea, 1998
Genus † Myobarbum Sohl, 1963
Tribe AUSTROGINELLINI Coovert and Coovert, 1995:80
"Serrata Group"
Genus † Conuginella Laseron, 1957:288
Marginella inermis Tate, 1878 †; OD (M)
Genus Serrata Jousseaume, 1875:167
Serrata serrata (Gaskoin, 1849), = Marginella serrata Gaskoin, 1849;T
Genus Serrataginella Coovert and Coovert, 1995:82
Marginella spryi (Clover, 1974), OD (M)
Genus Stromboginella Laseron, 1957:289
Marginella crassidens Chapman and Crespin,1928 †; OD (M)
Genus Hydroginella Laseron, 1957:284
Hydroginella dispersa Laseron, 1957; OD (M)
"Austroginella Group"
Genus † Mioginella Laseron, 1957:287
Marginella regula Cotton, 1949 †; OD (M)
Apertural view of Austroginella tasmanica
Genus Protoginella Laseron, 1957:285
Marginella lavigata Brazier, 1877, = Marginella (Prunum) lavigata Brazier, 1877; OD (M)
Genus † Nudifaba Eames, 1952:122
Marginella (N.) rakhiensis Eames, 1952 †; OD (M)
Genus Alaginella Laseron, 1957:286
Marginella ochracea Angas, 1871; OD
Genus † Hiwia Marwick, 1931:129
Marginella (Hiwia) amplificata Marwick, 1931 †; OD (M)
Genus Austroginella Laseron, 1957:285
Austroginella formicula (Lamarck, 1822)
Austroginella georgiana (May, 1915)
Austroginella johnstoni (Petterd, 1884)
Austroginella muscaria Lamarck, 1822; OD
Austroginella praetermissa (May, 1916)
Austroginella queenslandica (Laseron, 1957)
Austroginella tasmanica (Tenison-Woods, 1876)
Austroginella translucida (G.B. Sowerby II, 1846)
Genus Mesoginella Laseron, 1957:282
Marginella turbinata G. B. Sowerby II, 1846; OD (M)
Genus Closia Gray, 1857:36
Closia sarda (Kiener, 1834), = Marginella sarda Kiener, 1834; M
Genus Ovaginella Laseron, 1957
Marginella ovulum G. B. Sowerby II, 1846; OD
Genus Balanetta Jousseaume, 1875
Balanetta baylei Jousseaume, 1875; M
Tribe PRUNINI Coovert and Coovert, 1995:80
Genus Volvarina Hinds, 1844:75
Marginella nitida Hinds, 1844, = Marginella (Volvarina) nitida Hinds, 1844, = Voluta mitrella Risso, 1826; SD Redfield, 1870:221
Genus Prunum Herrmannsen, 1852:113
Voluta prunum Gmelin, 1791; M
Genus Bullata Jousseaume, 1875:167, 250
Bullata bullata (Born, 1778), = Voluta bullata Born, 1778; T
Genus Rivomarginella Brandt, 1968:275
Genus Cryptospira Hinds, 1844:76
Marginella tricincta Hinds, 1844, = Marginella (Cryptospira) tricincta Hinds, 1844; SD (M) Gray, 1847:142
Genus Hyalina Schumacher, 1817:234
Hyalina pellucida Schumacher, 1817, = Bulla pallida Linné, 1758; M
Tribe MARGINELLINI Fleming, 1828:328
Genus † Stazzania Sacco, 1890a:138
Marginella (Stazzania) emarginata Sismonda, 1847, = Marginella emarginata Sismonda, 1847 †; M
Genus Dentimargo Cossmann, 1899:90
'Marginella dentifera Lamarck, 1803 †; OD
Genus Eratoidea Weinkauff, 1879:140
Marginella margarita Kiener, 1834; SD Cossmann, 1899:87
Genus † Euryentome Cossmann, 1899:95
Marginella crassilabra Conrad, 1833 (non Marginella crassilabar Bory de St. Vincent, 1827), = Marginella silabra Palmer, 1937 (nom. nov.), = Marginella aratina Lea, 1833 †; OD
Genus † Simplicoglabella Sacco, 1890b:21
Marginella (Glabella) taurinensis Michelotti, 1847 †; SD (M)
Genus Marginella Lamarck, 1799:70
Voluta glabella Linné, 1758; M
Genus Glabella Swainson, 1840:133
Voluta faba Linné, 1758; SD (M) Gray, 1847:142


  1. ^ Strong E. E., Gargominy O., Ponder W. F. & Bouchet P. (2008). "Global Diversity of Gastropods (Gastropoda; Mollusca) in Freshwater". Hydrobiologia 595: 149-166. hdl:10088/7390 doi:10.1007/s10750-007-9012-6.
  2. ^ Coovert G. A. & Coovert H. K. (1995). "Revision of the Supraspecific Classification of Marginelliform Gastropods". The Nautilus 109(2 & 3): 43-110.

Further reading[edit]

  • Adams, Henry and Arthur Adams 1853. In: 1853-1858. The genera of Recent Mollusca; arranged according to their organization. John van Voorst, London. 3 vols [1:vi-xl, 1-484; 2:1-661; 3:pls. 1-138].
  • Barnard, Keppel Harcourt
1962. A new genus in the family Marginellidae. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 35(1):14-15.
1963. The family position of Afrivoluta pringlei Tomlin. The Journal of Conchology 25(5):198-199.
  • Clover, Philip 1974. A new species of Cypraea from West Africa and three new species of Marginellidae from the Indian Ocean. The Journal of Conchology 28(4):213-216, pl.8.
  • Coan, Eugene 1965. A proposed reclassification of the family Marginellidae. The Veliger 7(3):184-189
  • Coan, Eugene and Barry Roth
1966. The West American Marginellidae. The Veliger 8(4): 276-299, pls. 48-51.
1976. Status of the genus Hyalina Schumacher, 1817 (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Journal of Mollucan Studies 42(2):217-222.
  • Cooke, Alfred Hands 1922. On the pseudo-genus Pseudomarginella, v. Maltzan. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London15(1):3-5.
  • Coomans, H. E.
1969a. On the identity of Criptospira glauca and the related Cryptospira ventricosa, (Gastropoda: Marginellidae). Basteria 33(5-6):85-92.
1969b. Notes om Marginella spryi. Basteria 39(1-2):23-27.
1975. Marginella orstomi. A new species from deeper water off the coast of West Africa (gastropoda, Marginellidae). Bulletin Zoologisch Museum, Universiteit von Amsterdam vol.4 No.12
  • Coomans, H. E. and Philip Clover 1972. The genus Rivomarginella (Gastropoda, Marginellidae). Beaufortia 20(263):69-75.
  • Coovert, Gary A.
1986a. Type species list. Marginella Marginalia 1(1):1-3.
1986b. Generic group names. Marginella Marginalia 1(2):5-7.
1987a. The genus Afrivoluta and a review of the type species Afrivoluta pringlei Tomlin, 1947. Marginella Marginalia 2(1):1-8.
1987b. Addenda to Afrivoluta paper. Marginella Marginalia 2(6):39
1987c. Propor usage of the generic names Haloginella, Hyalina, and Volvarina with a diagnosis of the genus Haloginella. Marginella Marginalia 3(1):1-7
1987d. The external anatomy of two species of Caribbean Marginellidae. Marginella Marginalia 3(5):33-37.
1988a. Type species of the genera Austroginella and Mesoginella and their synonyms. Marginella Marginalia 4(2/3):9-26.
1988b. Marginellidae of Florida, Part II. Prunum succinea with a discussion of Prunum and Volvarina. Marginella Marginalia 4(5)_35-42, pl. 1.
  • Cossmann, Alexandre Édouard Maurice 1899. Essaid e paléonconchologie comparée. Cossmann, Paris. Vol. 3, 201 p., pls. 1-8.
  • Fischer, Paul 1883 . In: 1880-1887. Manuel de conchyologie et de paléontologie conchyologique ou histoire naturelle des mollusques vivantes et fossiles. Libraire F. Savy, Paris. Vol. 2(fascicule 6):513-608, 1883.
  • Gofas, Serge 1989. Le genre Volvarina (Marginellidae) dans la Mediterranée et l´Atlantique du nord est. Bolletino Malacologico 25(5-8):159-182.
  • Gofas, Serge and Francisco Fernandes
1988. The marginellids of São Tomé, West Africa. Journal of Conchology 33(1):1-30, pls. 1-2.
1992. The Marginellidae of Angola: The genus Volvarina. The Journal of Conchology 34(4):187-198
1994. The Marginellidae of Angola: The genus Marginella. Journal of Conchology 35:103-119
  • Gray, John Edward 1847. A list of the genera of Recent Mollusac, their synonyma and types. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1847 pt.15[=17]:129-219.
  • Harasewych, M. G. and Y. I. Kantor 1991. Rediscovery of Marginellona gigas (Martens, 1904), with notes on the anatomy and systematic position on the subfamily Marginelloninae (Gastropoda: Marginellidae). Nemouria 37:1-19.
  • Hinds, Richard Brinsley 1844. Descriptions of Marginellae collected during the voyage of H.M.S. Sulphur, and from the collection of Mr. Cuming. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1844 pt. 12[= vol. 14].72-77.
  • Jousseaume, Felix P. 1875. Coquilles de la famille des marginelles. Monographie. Revue et Magasin de Zoologie, ser.3, 3:164-271, 429-435, pls. 7-8. [Also issued separately, pp. 1–115, pls. 7-8].
  • Laseron, Charles F. 1957. A new classification of the Australian Marginellidae (Mollusca), with a review of species from the Solanderian and Dampierian zoogeographical provinces. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 8(3):274-311.
  • Redfield, John H.
1852. Description of new species of Marginella, with notes on sundry species of Marginella and Cypraea. Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History in New York 5:224-228.
1870. Catalogue of the known species, recent and fossil, of the family Marginellidae. American Journal of Concholoigy 6(2):215-269.
  • Reeve, Lovell Augustus 1864-1865. Monograph of the genus Marginella. In; Chonchologia Iconica: or illustration of the shells of molluscous animals. Vol. 15, pls. 2-13 [Aug. 1864], pls. 1,14-27, index, errata [Jan. 1865].
  • Sohl, N. F. 1963. New gastropod genera from the late Upper Cretaceous of East Gulf Coastal * Sowerby, George Brettingham II 1846. Monograph of the genus Marginella. In: Thesaurus Conchyliorum, or figures and descriptions of Recent Shells. Sowerby, London. Vol 1(7):239-406, pls.68-78.
  • The Academy of Natural Sciences. A Database of Western Atlantic Marine Mollusca
  • Thiele, Johannes 1904. Pt. B, Anatomisch-systematische untersuchungen einiger Gastropoden, pp. 147–180, pls. 6-9. In: Martens and Thiele. Die beschalten Gastropoden der deutscen Tiefsee-Expedition 1898-1899.
  • Tomlin, John Reed le Brockton 1947. A new South African volutid. The Journal of Conchology 22(10):244-245
  • Weinkauff, Henrich Conrad 1878-1879. Die gattungen Marginella und Erato In: Systematisches Conchylien-Cabinet von Martini und Cheminitz. 2nd ed. Bauer and Raspe, Nürnberg. Vol. 5(4):1-166, pls. 1-26.

External links[edit]