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Nassarius tiarula.jpg
A live individual of Nassarius tiarula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Neogastropoda
Superfamily: Buccinoidea
Family: Nassariidae
Iredale, 1916 (1835)

See text

The Nassariidae, Nassa mud snails (USA), or dog whelks (UK), are a taxonomic family of small to medium-sized sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the clade Neogastropoda.

Shell description[edit]

These snails have rounded shells with a high spire, an oval aperture, and a siphonal notch.


This family of snails is found worldwide.


These snails are found mostly in shallow water, on sandy or muddy substrates, often intertidally, but sometimes in deep water. They can be present in very large numbers in suitable habitat.

Feeding habits[edit]

Nassariidae are primarily active and lively scavengers.


The family Nassariidae is closely related to the family of the true whelks, Buccinidae, because of their shared characteristics in the anatomy of the species in these families,[1][2][3] [4]), i.e. a long proboscis, the loss of glandular dorsal folds, and a smaller gland of Leiblein (a dorsal venom gland in the mid-oesophagus).

According to the taxonomy of the Gastropoda by Bouchet & Rocroi (2005) the family Nassariidae consists of four subfamilies:

  • Nassariinae Iredale, 1916 (1835) - synonyms: Nassinae Swainson, 1835 (inv.); Cyclopsidae Chenu, 1859 (inv.); Cyclonassinae Gill, 1871; Alectrionidae Dall, 1908; Arculariidae Iredale, 1915
  • Bullinae Allmon, 1990 (not recognized by Haitao LI et al., 2010 [5])
  • Cylleninae L. Bellardi, 1882
  • Dorsaninae Cossmann, 1901 - synonym: Duplicatinae Muskhelishvili, 1967


Genera within the family Nassariidae include:[6][7]

Not belonging to a subfamily
  • Adinus H. Adams & A. Adams, 1853
  • Buccinanops d'Orbigny, 1841
  • Bullia Griffith, 1834 - type genus of the subfamily Bullinae
  • Cyllene Gray in Griffith & Pidgeon, 1834
Subfamily ?


External links[edit]