Skip to Main Content




Gryphaeidae Vialov, 1936

Common Name: Foam oysters or honeycomb oysters


Key morphological features: The shells are usually inequivalve and thin-walled or solid, with a circular or oval shape. The shell is composed of aragonite and calcite, and exterior sculpture is ribbed, often with scales or spines.

        SIZE: Up to ~300mm

Paleoecology: The Gryphaeidae live in marine and estuarine environments and cement themselves to hard substrates. Their exterior surfaces are often encrusted or bored by other species. They are found in tropical and subtropical seas.

        MOBILITY: Stationary

        FEEDING MODE: Suspension Feeder

        HABITAT: Epifaunal


Mikkelsen, P.M., and Bieler, R. 2008. Seashells of Southern Florida: Bivalves. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 503 pp.

Cox, L.R., et al. 1969. Systematic Descriptions, in Cox et al., eds., Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Part N, Mollusca 6, Volume 1. The University of Kansas and Geological Society of America. 489 pp. 

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