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Cancellariidae Gray, 1853

Common Name: Nutmeg shells


Key morphological features: The Cancellariidae are small to medium sized gastropods with robust, globose shells. The body whorl is most often relatively large with a medium or high spire and wide aperture. The shell exterior of most species features prominent spiral cords crossed by equally prominent and similarly sized axial cords, producing the family’s namesake 'cancellate ornamentation'.


Paleoecology: The Cancellariidae are marine gastropods and are adapted for suctorial feeding, consuming the contents of egg capsules or bodily fluids of various hosts. They inhabit shallow intertidal to deep subtidal (to ~1000m) soft sediment habitats worldwide.

        MOBILITY: Mobile

        FEEDING MODE: Predator

        HABITAT: Epifaunal


Davies, A.M. 1971. Tertiary Faunas Vol. 1, second edition. New York: American Elsevier Publishing Company, Inc. 571 pp.

Modica, M.V., Kosyan, A., Oliverio, M. 2009. The relationships of the enigmatic gastropod Tritonoharpa (Neogastropoda): new data on early neogastropod evolution? The Nautilus 123 (3): 177-188.

Tunnell Jr., J.W., Andrews, J., Barrera, N.C., Moretzsohn, F. 2010. Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells. College Station: Texas A&M University Press. 512 pp.


Genera of Cancellariidae present in the Cretaceous of the Western Interior Seaway