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Temporal range: Middle Eocene[1]-Recent
Terebralia palustris 2.png
A live individual of Terebralia palustris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda

clade Sorbeoconcha

Superfamily: Cerithioidea
Family: Potamididae
H. Adams & A. Adams, 1854
6 living genera and 29 living species
  • Telescopiidae Allan, 1950
  • Cerithideidae Houbrick, 1988

Potamididae, common name potamidids (also known as horn snails or mudwhelks) are a family of small to large brackish water snails that live on mud flats, mangroves and similar habitats.[1] They are amphibious gastropod molluscs in the superfamily Cerithioidea.

Traditionally, potamidids and batillariids have been confused because they have similar shells and they live in similar environments. For many fossil taxa the family assignment to either of these two families is still unresolved or controversial.[1]

According to the taxonomy of the Gastropoda by Bouchet & Rocroi (2005) the family Potamididae has no subfamilies.[2]


The distribution of Potamididae includes the Indo-West Pacific, the eastern Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean.[1]


Six living and a number of fossil genera are currently recognized:[1]

Recent genera:[1]

Fossil genera (fossils are difficult to differentiate from other cerithioideans, such as the Batillariidae):

Generic names brought into synonymy
  • Aphanistylus P. Fischer, 1884: synonym of Cerithidea Swainson, 1840
  • Phaenommia Mörch, 1860: synonym of Cerithidea Swainson, 1840
  • Pirenella Gray, 1847 is a synonym of Potamides Brongniart, 1810[4] or of Cerithideopsilla[1]
  • Tympanotomus Gray, 1840: synonym of Tympanotonos Schumacher, 1817
  • Tympanotonus Agassiz, 1846: synonym of Tympanotonos Schumacher, 1817


Most of the 29 living species of Potamididae show a close association with mangroves. Most species live on mudflats, but some also climb mangrove trees.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Reid, D. G.; Dyal, P.; Lozouet, P.; Glaubrecht, M.; Williams, S. T. (2008). "Mudwhelks and mangroves: The evolutionary history of an ecological association (Gastropoda: Potamididae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 47 (2): 680–699. PMID 18359643. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.01.003. 
  2. ^ a b c Bouchet P.; Rocroi J.-P.; Frýda J.; Hausdorf B.; Ponder W.; Valdés Á. & Warén A. (2005). "Classification and nomenclator of gastropod families". Malacologia: International Journal of Malacology. Hackenheim, Germany: ConchBooks. 47 (1-2): 1–397. ISBN 3-925919-72-4. ISSN 0076-2997. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Potamididae. The Paleobiology Database, accessed 10 April 2011.
  4. ^ a b c WoRMS (2010). Potamides Brongniart, 1810. In: Bouchet, P.; Gofas, S.; Rosenberg, G. (2010) World Marine Mollusca database. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=138374 on 2011-04-10

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Potamididae.