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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous–Recent
A ventral view of a shell of Xenophora pallidula, with attached gastropod shells
A lateral view of the same shell
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Subclass: Caenogastropoda
Order: Littorinimorpha
Family: Xenophoridae
Genus: Xenophora
Fischer von Waldheim, 1807[1]

See text

  • Phorus Montfort, 1810
  • Xenophora (Austrophora) Kreipl, Alf & Kronenberg, 1999· accepted, alternate representation
  • Xenophora (Endoptygma) Gabb, 1877 · accepted, alternate representation
  • Xenophora (Xenophora) Fischer von Waldheim, 1807· accepted, alternate representation
  • Xenophorus (incorrect subsequent spelling of Xenophora Fischer von Waldheim, 1807)

Xenophora, commonly called carrier shells, is a genus of medium-sized to large sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Xenophoridae, the carrier snails or carrier shells.[2] The genus Xenophora is the type genus of the family Xenophoridae.


The name Xenophora comes from two ancient Greek words, and means "bearing foreigners", so-called because in most species the snail cements pieces of rock or shells to its own shell at regular intervals as the shell grows.[3]


The shells of species within this genus vary from small to large (diameter of base without attachments 19-90 mm; height of shell 21-60 mm), depressed-conical, with narrow to very narrow, simple peripheral edge, non-porcellanous ventrally. Foreign objects are attached to all whorls, with generally more than 30% of dorsal surface obscured by these objects. The foreign objects are usually medium-sized to large.[4] Although the foreign objects are usually mollusk shells, pebbles, or small pieces of coral rock, in some instances a bottle cap has been attached by the snail to its shell.


The genus Xenophora includes the following species and subspecies:[4][5][6]

Subgenus Xenophora (Austrophora) Kreipl, Alf & Kronenberg, 1999
Subgenus Xenophora (Xenophora) Fischer von Waldheim, 1807
Species brought into synonymy
  • Subgenus Xenophora (Stellaria) Möller, 1832: synonym of Stellaria Möller, 1832
  • Xenophora (Stellaria) testigera (Bronn, 1831): synonym of Stellaria testigera (Bronn, 1831)
  • Xenophora australis Souverbie & Montrouzier, 1870: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) solarioides (Reeve, 1845)
  • Xenophora calculifera (Reeve, 1843): synonym of Stellaria chinensis (Philippi, 1841)
  • Xenophora caperata sensu Petit de la Saussaye, 1857: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) senegalensis Fischer, 1873
  • Xenophora caribaea Petit de la Saussaye, 1857 - Caribbean carriersnail: synonym of Onustus caribaeus (Petit de la Saussaye, 1857)
  • Xenophora cavelieri Rochebrune, 1883: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) senegalensis Fischer, 1873
  • Xenophora digitata Martens, 1878: synonym of Stellaria testigera digitata Martens, 1878
  • Xenophora gigantea (Schepman, 1909): synonym of Stellaria gigantea (Schepman, 1909)
  • Xenophora helvacea Philippi, 1851: synonym of Onustus indicus (Gmelin, 1791)
  • Xenophora indica (Gmelin, 1791): synonym of Onustus indicus (Gmelin, 1791)
  • Xenophora japonica Kuroda & Habe, 1971: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) japonica Kuroda & Habe, 1971
  • Xenophora konoi Habe, 1953: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) mekranensis konoi Habe, 1953
  • Xenophora laevigata Fischer von Waldheim, 1807: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) conchyliophora (Born, 1780)
  • Xenophora lamberti Souverbie, 1871: synonym of Stellaria lamberti (Souverbie, 1871)
  • Xenophora longleyi Bartsch, 1931 - shingled carriersnail: synonym of Onustus longleyi Bartsch, 1931
  • Xenophora meandrina Fischer von Waldheim, 1807: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) conchyliophora (Born, 1780)
  • Xenophora mediterranea Tiberi, 1863: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) crispa (König, 1825)
  • Xenophora neozelanica Suter, 1908: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) neozelanica neozelanica Suter, 1908
  • Xenophora regularis Habe & Okutani, 1983 : synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) granulosa Ponder, 1983
  • Xenophora tenuis Hirase, 1934: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) tenuis Fulton, 1983
  • Xenophora torrida Kuroda & Ito, 1961 : synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) cerea (Reeve, 1845)
  • Xenophora tricostata Fischer von Waldheim, 1807: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) conchyliophora (Born, 1780)
  • Xenophora tulearensis Stewart & Kosuge, 1993: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) corrugata (Reeve, 1842)
  • Xenophora vulcanica Fischer von Waldheim, 1807: synonym of Xenophora (Xenophora) conchyliophora (Born, 1780)
  • Xenophora wagneri Philippi, 1855: synonym of Onustus indicus (Gmelin, 1791)

Extinct species[edit]

A view of the fossil shell of Xenophora infundibulum

Extinct species within this genus include: [7]

  • Xenophora carditigera Nielsen and DeVries 2002
  • Xenophora cummulans Brongniart 1823
  • Xenophora delecta Guppy 1876
  • Xenophora deshayesi Michelotti 1847
  • Xenophora eocenica Abbass 1967
  • Xenophora floridana Mansfield 1930
  • Xenophora infundibulum (Brocchi, 1814)[8]
  • Xenophora palaeoafra Gliozzi and Malatesta 1983
  • Xenophora paulinae Nielsen and DeVries 2002
  • Xenophora rugata Abbass 1967
  • Xenophora tatei Harris 1897
  • Xenophora terpstrai Dey 1961
  • Xenophora textilina Dall 1892

Fossil record[edit]

Fossils of Xenophora are found in marine strata from the Cretaceous to Quaternary (age range: from 89.3 to 0.012 million years ago.). Fossils are known all over the world. [7][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fischer von Waldheim, Gotthelf (1807). Muséum Demidoff, ou catalogue systématique et raisonné des curiosités de la nature et de l'art. Vol. 3: Végétaux et animaux. p. 213.
  2. ^ WoRMS (2012). Xenophora. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=138664 on 2012-06-28
  3. ^ Xenophora.org website [1] accessed 24 April 2014
  4. ^ a b Kreipl, K. & Alf, A. (1999): Recent Xenophoridae. 148 pp. incl. 28 color plts. ConchBooks, Hackenheim, ISBN 3-925919-26-0.
  5. ^ Powell A. W. B. (1979). New Zealand Mollusca, William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand. ISBN 0-00-216906-1
  6. ^ OBIS Indo-Pacific Molluscan Database
  7. ^ a b Paleobiology Database
  8. ^ Stromboidea
  9. ^ G. Manganelli, V. Spadini, S. Cianfanelli The xenophorid gastropods of the Mediterranean Pliocene: the record of the Siena Basin