Australian Shells
The following Australian shells are listed under their general main family
names. There are many individual scientific names that these shells also have.
The following photos and details were supplied by M & J Shells.
Acknowledgements
BIVALVES
Bivalves shells consist of two main
parts or valves. Bivalves are the
second largest class of Mollusca.
BUCCINIDAE
A large family with many species
inhabiting the sea floor of ocean
deeps although most are
shallow-water animals.
BURSIDAE
Bursa or Frog Shells are found in
shallow water in rocky and coral
habitats. They are colourful and
have a horny operculum.
CAMPANILIDAE
Large white creeper found in sand
amongst weed and sea grasses.
The genus has a long fossil record
but this is the only surviving
species.
CANCELLARIIDAE
Cancellaria also known as
Nutmegs live in sand often under
rocks and stones, they have no
operculum.
CASSIDAE
Also known as Helmet Shells.
Large decorative shells to small
plain shells all are sand-dwellers
and carnivorous.
CERITHIIDAE
Ceriths or Creepers are most
strongly represented in shallow
tropical waters.
CHITONIDAE
Also known as Coat-of-Mail shells.
Found on rocks along the shore
line.
CLAVIGELLIDAE
Also known as Watering Pot shells
live buried in sand.
COLUMBELLIDAE
Dove Shells are minute to small
and live in tropical and warn seas.
CONIDAE
Cone shells almost all have bright
and interesting colour patterns.
CORALLIOPHILIDAE
Almost all are white with violet or
purple apertures.
CYPRAEIDAE
Cypraeidae have ovate, beautifully
coloured or patterned shells and
live in rocky or coral habitats.
EPITONIIDAE
Also known as Wentletraps they
live in sand at various depths.
FASCIOLARIIDAE
Spindel like shells living on sand
at all depths.
FASCIOLARIINAE
Spindel like shells living on sand
at all depths.
FICIDAE
Also known as Fig shells they are
mud and sand dwellers.
FISSURELLIDAE
Keyhole and Slit Limpets live
attached to rocks and under slabs
along the shore line and reef
areas.
HALIOTIDAE
Also known as Abalone they have
meaty bodies and are excellent
eating.
HARPIDAE
Harps are burrowing gastropods
living in sand and mud. Their
shells are strongly sculptured and
colourful.
JANTHINIDAE
Violet Sea Snails living at the
surface are often washed ashore
during storms.
LITTORINIDAE
Also known as Periwinkles they
live on rocky shore lines and
amongst mangroves.
MARGINELLIDAE
Marginella are found in almost
every habitat in the world.
MELONGENIDAE
Large heavy conch shells, sand
dwellers.
MITRIDAE
Mitres have beautiful shells and
are favourites with collectors.
MURICIDAE
Murex shells are most notable for
their prominent varixes and
spinose or frondose sculpture and
include some of the most
remarkable shells in the sea.
NASSARINAE
Also known as Dog Welks, these
shells live in colonies on sand and
mud.
NATICIDAE
Sand and Moon shells can be seen
leaving their meandering trails on
intertidal tide flats.
NERITIDAE
Nerites are herbivorous, brousing
on algae growing on rocks and
mangrove trees.
NOTOCYPRAEA
Small mostly elongate-oval shells.
They are found amongst rocks
from low tide to great depths from
Western Australia, South Australia,
Victoria and Tasmania.
OLIVIDAE
Olives are best known for their
highly polished and colourful
shells. They are predators and
most species live in sand.
OVULIDAE
Egg and Spindle Cowries are found
living on soft corals.
PATELLIDAE
Limpets can be found on most
rocky shore lines.
PECTINIDAE
Pectens are a colourful family and
much sort after by collectors.
PLANAXIDAE
Planaxis or Clusterwinks inhabit
the rocks on shore lines and
cluster in colonies. They are algae
browsers.
POTAMIDIDAE
Horn snails. Dull coloured shells
that live mostly in mud in large
colonies among Mangroves.
RANELLIDAE
Triton shells are another medium
to large shell popular with
collectors.
SILIQUARIIDAE
Also known as Slit Worm shells
they live embedded in sponges
under rocks and slabs in reef
areas.
SPONDYLIDAE
Thorny Oyster another very
colourful shell sort after by
collectors. Spondylus live attached
to the rocky substrata.
STROMBIDAE
Strombs are a most interesting
group with small dainty shells to
large shells with long curved legs.
Strombs live in sand and mud.
TEREBRIDAE
Terebras or Auger shells are sand
dwelling carnivores from warm
waters.
TONNIDAE
Tun shells differ from Helmet
shells by their thinner roomier
shells. They prefer deeper water.
TROCHIDAE
Top Shells or Trochus are mostly
Top-Shaped and have horney
operculums. They live intertidal to
the deepest parts of the ocean.
TURBINELLIDAE
Also known as Vase Shells and are
very popular with collectors.
TURBINIDAE
Turban Shells are another with
top-shaped shells, most species
feed on Marine Algae.
TURRIDAE
Turrids form the largest of all
molluscan families. Found in all
seas from shallow to very deep
waters.
UMBILIA
Large to middle sized cowries
found in deep waters from
Rottnest Island Western Australia
to Innisfail Queensland and
including Tasmania.
VANIKORIDAE
Small and fragile these shells live
under rocks and slabs amongst
reef areas.
VERMETIDAE
Worm-Shells. Coiling shells that
grow in clumps or attach singly
under slabs.
VOLUTIDAE
Large and colourful shells that
inhabit sandy areas from intertidal
to the continental shelf. Volutes
are predators, feeding on other
molluscs.
XENOPHORA
Also known as Carrier Shells. Most
attach dead shells to themselves
and are top shaped.
ZOILA
These large colourful shells are
endemic to the cold deep waters
of southern and south western
Australia.
These next photos were supplied by Australian Sea Shells