Cochlespira pulchella, photographed by Jan Delsing.

Belongs within: Conoidea.

The Cochlespiridae are a group of moderate-sized to large conoids with high-spired shells. Members include the elongate-fusiform genus Aforia with a primarily bipolar distribution, being found in the North Pacific and circumpolar in the Southern Hemisphere. Members of the genus Cochlespira have pagodiform shells with a peripheral shoulder carina bearing serrated nodes or upturned spines (Powell 1966).

Published 15 December 2017
Shell of Cochlespira radiata, photographed by Jan Delsing.

This beauty is a member of the genus Cochlespira, another one of the conoid shells previously classed as ‘turrids’ (it now belongs in the family Cochlespiridae since the disassembly of Turridae in the broad sense). Cochlespira species can be relatively large as conoids go, reaching lengths of up to five centimetres. They are found in deep waters in various parts of the world, with a fossil record going back to the Eocene (Powell 1966; Powell treated the western Atlantic species as a separate genus Ancistrosyrinx, but this and the Indo-Pacific Cochlespira have since been synonymised). One of the genus’ more distinctive features is a little hard to miss: that eye-catching keel around the outside of the whorls, ornamented with serrations or spines.

As with other deep-water conoids, our knowledge of how Cochlespira species live their lives seems to be pretty limited. The radula has a broad-based central tooth with a single median cusp, and a pair of marginal teeth that are elongate but not as slender as those of many other conoids (Powell 1966). The rhynchodeal walls in the foregut are muscular and the proboscis is long. The venom glands are well-developed but join the oesophagus at about its midlength rather than in the buccal mass (Simone 1999). The arrangement looks to my admittedly inexpert eyes like it might be suited for sucking up invertebrate prey, perhaps something that might be expected to be relatively slow-moving or soft-bodied.

Systematics of Cochlespiridae

Characters (from Bouchet et al. 2011): Shell of moderate size, about 20–30 mm, up to 100 mm high, high-pagodiform to fusiform, with a tall spire and usually a long siphonal canal. Axial sculpture poorly developed or absent, subsutural ramp usually smooth. Anal sinus deep, on subsutural ramp. Protoconch paucispiral, smooth. Operculum with terminal nucleus. Radula 1–0-R-0–1. Rachidian broad, subrectangular or arched, with a single rather large cusp, rarely absent. Marginal teeth duplex, with well developed accessory limb.

<==Cochlespiridae [Cochlespirinae]
    |--Cochlespira Conrad 1865BK11 (see below for synonymy)
    |    |--*C. engonata Conrad 1865BR17 (see below for synonymy)
    |    |--C. bella Conrad 1865P66
    |    |    |--C. b. bellaP66
    |    |    |--C. b. planata Harris 1937P66
    |    |    `--C. b. polita Harris 1937P66
    |    |--‘Pleurotoma’ cedonulli Reeve 1843 [=Ancistrosyrinx cedonulli]P66
    |    |    |--P. c. cedonulliP66
    |    |    `--‘Ancistrosyrinx’ c. reevei Olsson 1942P66
    |    |--‘Spirotropis’ clytotropis Sykes 1906 [=Ancistrosyrinx clytotropis]BW80
    |    |--‘Pleurotoma’ columbaria Aldrich 1886 [=Ancistrosyrinx columbaria]P66
    |    |    |--P. c. columbariaP66
    |    |    `--‘Ancistrosyrinx’ c. petropolis (Harris 1937)P66
    |    |--C. crispulata (Martens 1901)P66
    |    |--C. cristata (Conrad 1847) [=Pleurotoma cristata]P66
    |    |    |--C. c. cristataP66
    |    |    `--C. c. greggi Harris 1937P66
    |    |--‘Ancistrosyrinx’ dalli Olsson 1922P66
    |    |--*Ancistrosyrinx’ elegans Dall 1881P66
    |    |--C. elongata Simone 1999BC01
    |    |--C. gyrata (Edwards 1856) [=Pleurotoma terebralis gyrata]P66
    |    |--C. kawamurai (Kuroda 1958) [=Ancistrosyrinx kawamurai]P66
    |    |--‘Pleurotoma’ miranda Guppy 1882 [=Ancistrosyrinx miranda]P66
    |    |--C. perspirata (Koenen 1865) [=Pleurotoma terebralis perspirata]P66
    |    |--C. pulchella (Schepman 1913)BK11 [=Ancistrosyrinx pulchellaP66]
    |    |--C. pulcherrissima (Kuroda 1958) [=Ancistrosyrinx pulcherissima]P66
    |    |--C. radiata (Dall 1889)BK11 [=Ancistrosyrinx radiataP66]
    |    |    |--C. r. radiataP66
    |    |    `--‘Ancistrosyrinx’ r. cubana Clench & Aguayo 1940P66
    |    |--C. semiplana (Powell 1944) [=Coronasyrinx semiplana]P66
    |    |--C. subterebralis (Bellardi 1847) [=Pleurotoma subterebralis, *Rouaultia subterebralis]P66
    |    |--C. takabanarensis (MacNeil 1960) [=Coronasyrinx takabanarensis]P66
    |    |--C. terebralis (Lamarck 1804) [=Pleurotoma terebralis]P66
    |    |    |--C. t. terebralisP66
    |    |    |--C. t. ditropis (Edwards 1856) [=Pleurotoma terebralis ditropis]P66
    |    |    `--C. t. pulcherrima (Edwards 1856) [=Pleurotoma terebralis pulcherrima]P66
    |    |--C. travancorica (Smith 1896) [=Pleurotoma (Ancistrosyrinx) travancorica]P66
    |    |    |--C. t. travancoricaP66
    |    |    `--C. t. granulata (Smith 1904) [=Pleurotoma (Ancistrosyrinx) granulata]P66
    |    |--C. venusta (Powell 1944) [=*Coronasyrinx venusta]P66
    |    `--C. volgeri (Philippi 1847) [=Pleurotoma volgeri]P66
    |--Aforia Dall 1889 [incl. Danilacarina Bozzetti 1997, Irenosyrinx Dall 1908]BK11
    |    |  i. s.: A. borgenae (Tegland 1933) [=Cryptogemma borgenae]P66
    |    |         A. campbelli Durham 1944P66
    |    |         A. chosenensis Bartsch 1945P66
    |    |         A. clallamensis (Weaver 1916) [=Turris clallamensis]P66
    |    |         A. clara (Martens 1880) [=Pleurotoma clara]P66
    |    |         A. crebristriata (Dall 1908) [=Irenosyrinx crebristriata]P66
    |    |         A. goniodes (Watson 1881) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) goniodes]P66
    |    |         A. goodei (Dall 1889)P66 [=Leucosyrinx goodeiBW80, Pleurotoma (*Irenosyrinx) goodeiP66]
    |    |           |--A. g. goodeiP66
    |    |           |--‘Leucosyrinx persimilis’ blanca Dall 1919O27
    |    |           |--‘Leucosyrinx persimilis’ leonis Dall 1908O27
    |    |           `--A. g. persimilis (Dall 1889) [=Leucosyrinx goodei persimilis]P66
    |    |         A. hypomela Dall 1889 [=Irenosyrinx hypomela; incl. Surcula tenerrima Fischer in Locard 1897]BW80
    |    |         A. japonicaP66
    |    |         A. magnifica (Strebel 1908) [=Surcula magnifica]P66
    |    |         A. marrowstonensis (Durham 1944) [=Irenosyrinx marrowstonensis]P66
    |    |         A. multispiralis Dell 1990BK11
    |    |         A. okhotskensis Bartsch 1945P66
    |    |         ‘Irenosyrinx’ pacifica Dall 1908O27
    |    |         A. staminea (Watson 1881) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) staminea]P66
    |    |         A. tasmanica Sysoev & Kantor 1988P95
    |    |         A. trilix (Watson 1881) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) trilix]P66
    |    |--A. (Aforia)BK11
    |    |    |--*A. (A.) circinata (Dall 1873) (see below for synonymy)P66
    |    |    |    |--A. c. circinataP66
    |    |    |    `--A. c. minatoensis (Otuka 1949) [=Leucosyrinx (Aforia) minatoensis]P66
    |    |    `--A. (A.) otohimei (Ozaki 1958) [=Leucosyrinx (A.) otohimei]P66
    |    |--A. (Abyssaforia Sysoev & Kantor 1987)BK11
    |    |--A. (Dallaforia Sysoev & Kanto 1987)BK11
    |    `--A. (Steiraxis Dall 1896)BK11
    |         `--‘Pleurotoma’ (*S.) aulaca Dall 1895P66
    |--Apiotoma Cossmann 1889BK11, P66
    |    |--*A. pirulata (Deshayes 1834) [=Pleurotoma pirulata]P66
    |    |--A. arntzenii (Martin 1914) [=Surcula arntzenii]P66
    |    |--A. balcombensis Powell 1944P66
    |    |--A. bassi Pritchard 1904P66
    |    |--A. chapplei Powell 1944P66
    |    |--A. deningeri (Martin 1914) [=Surcula deningeri]P66
    |    |--A. granti (Pritchard 1904) [=Pleurotoma granti]P66
    |    |--A. hypermeces (Cossmann & Pissarro 1909) [=Surcula (Apiotoma) hypermeces]P66
    |    |--A. janjukiensis (Chapple 1934) [=Turris janjukiensis]P66
    |    |--A. pritchardi Powell 1944P66
    |    `--A. vredenburgi (Cossmann & Pissarro 1909) [=Surcula vredenburgi]P66
    |--Nihonia MacNeil 1961BK11 [incl. Fusosurcula Kuroda in Taki 1951 (n. n.)P66]
    |    |--*N. shimajiriensis MacNeil 1960P66
    |    |--N. australis (Roissy 1805) [=Pleurotoma australis]P66
    |    |--N. birmanica (Vredenburg 1921) [=Surcula birmanica]P66
    |    |--N. circumstricta (Martens 1901) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) circumstricta]P66
    |    |--N. maxima Sysoev 1997 BK11
    |    |--N. mirabilis (Sowerby 1914) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) mirabilis, *Fusosurcula mirabilis]P66
    |    |--N. pervirgo (Yokoyama 1928) [=Pleurotoma pervirgo]P66
    |    |--N. soyomaruae (Otuka 1959) [=Turricula (Orthosurcula) soyomaruae]P66
    |    |    |--N. s. soyomaruaeP66
    |    |    `--N. s. takanabensis (Otuka 1959) [=Turricula (Orthosurcula) takanabensis]P66
    |    `--N. sucabumiana (Martin 1895) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) sucabumiana]P66
    |--Sibogasyrinx Powell 1969BK11
    |    `--*S. pyramidalis [=Leucosyrinx (*Sibogasyrinx) pyramidalis]BK11
    `--Clavosurcula Schepman 1913BK11
         `--*C. sibogae Schepman 1913P66

*Aforia (Aforia) circinata (Dall 1873) [=Pleurotoma circinata; incl. A. diomedea Bartsch 1945, Turricula (Surcula) hondoana Dall 1925, Pleurotomella insignis Jeffreys 1883, Aforia okhotskensis Bartsch 1945, A. sakhalinensis Bartsch 1945]P66

Cochlespira Conrad 1865BK11 [=Cochlespiropsis Casey 1904BR17; incl. Ancistrosyrinx Dall 1881BK11, Candelabrum Dall 1878 non de Blainville 1830P66, Coronasyrinx Powell 1944BK11, Pagodasyrinx Shuto 1969BK11, Rouaultia Bellardi 1878P66]

*Cochlespira engonata Conrad 1865BR17 [=*Cochlespiropsis engonataBR17, Pleurotoma engonataP66; incl. Cochlespiropsis blanda Casey 1904P66]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BK11] Bouchet, P., Y. I. Kantor, A. Sysoev & N. Puillandre. 2011. A new operational classification of the Conoidea (Gastropoda). Journal of Molluscan Studies 77: 273–308.

[BR17] Bouchet, P., J.-P. Rocroi, B. Hausdorf, A. Kaim, Y. Kano, A. Nützel, P. Parkhaev, M. Schrödl & E. E. Strong. 2017. Revised classification, nomenclator and typification of gastropod and monoplacophoran families. Malacologia 61 (1–2): 1–526.

[BW80] Bouchet, P., & A. Waren. 1980. Revision of the north-east Atlantic bathyal and abyssal Turridae (Mollusca, Gastropoda). Journal of Molluscan Studies Supplement 8: 1–119.

[BC01] Boyko, C. B., & J. R. Cordeiro. 2001. Catalog of Recent type specimens in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History. V. Mollusca, part 2 (class Gastropoda [exclusive of Opisthobranchia and Pulmonata], with supplements to Gastropoda [Opisthobranchia], and Bivalvia). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 262: 1–170.

[O27] Oldroyd, I. S. 1927. The Marine Shells of the West Coast of North America vol. 2 pt 1. Stanford University Press: Stanford University (California).

[P95] Ponder, W. F. 1995. Book review: Australian Marine Shells. Prosobranch Gastropods. Parts 1 and 2. Molluscan Research 16: 97–102.

[P66] Powell, A. W. B. 1966. The molluscan families Speightiidae and Turridae: an evaluation of the valid taxa, both Recent and fossil, with lists of characteristic species. Bulletin of the Auckland Institute and Museum 5: 1–184, pls 1–23.

Simone, L. R. L. 1999. The anatomy of Cochlespira Conrad (Gastropoda, Conoidea, Turridae) with a description of a new species from the southeastern coast of Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 16 (1): 103–115.

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