Comitas kamakurana, copyright Korina Sangiouloglou.

Belongs within: Pseudomelatomidae.

Comitas is a genus of relatively large, tall-spired conoids with a sculpture of long fold-like axials and a leaf-shaped operculum (Powell 1966).

Toxic sea snails
Published 16 October 2007
Comitas kaderlyi, from here.

The Turridae are a family of predatory gastropods, mostly fairly small though Comitas is one of the larger members, reaching up to 95 mm in length. The turrids belong to a clade called Toxoglossa that also includes the better-known Conidae (cone shells). The name Toxoglossa means “poison tongue”, and a well-developed poison gland is associated with the radula of toxoglossans for the capture of prey. This has been taken to the greatest extent in cone shells, at least some of which are toxic enough to be dangerous to humans. Compared to other gastropods, toxoglossans show reduction in the numbers of radular teeth while individual teeth become larger and more elaborate (figure below from Kantor & Taylor, 2000). In cone shells, the individual teeth are long and spiral in cross-section to form a hypodermic toxin injector.

Toxoglossan radulae, from Kantor & Taylor (2000).

Though there are far more species of Turridae in the world than Conidae, the latter receives a lot more attention than the former, probably because turrids are generally smaller, more retiring and more likely to be found in deeper waters. Comitas is found in deeper and cooler waters of the Indo-Pacific (Powell 1966).

Systematics of Comitas

Characters (from Powell 1966): Shell moderately large to very large, up to 95 mm, elongate-fusiform, with tall spire and moderately long, straight to slightly flexed, unnotched anterior canal. Protoconch papillate, of two smooth whorls, carinate or subcarinate over last whorl. Adult sculpture of long fold-like axials, crossed by dense spiral lirae. Suture submargined by very weak fold at most. Sinus moderately deep, rather broadly U-shaped, on shoulder slope, but nearer to periphery than to suture. Operculum leaf-shaped, with terminal nucleus. Radula of “wishbone”-type, paired marginals but with distal limb detached.

<==Comitas Finlay 1926 [incl. Carinacomitas Powell 1942]P66
    |--C. fusiformis (Hutton 1877)P66 (see below for synonymy)
    |--C. abnormis King 1933P66
    |--C. aldingensis Powell 1944 [=C. (Carinacomitas) aldingensis]P66
    |--C. allani Powell 1942P66
    |--C. anteridion (Watson 1881) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) anteridion]P66
    |--C. arcana (Smith 1899) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) arcana]P66
    |--C. bilix Marwick 1931P66
    |--C. breviplicata (Smith 1899) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) breviplicata]P66
    |--C. chuni (von Martens 1902)MG-H11 [=Pleurotoma (Pseudomata) chuniP66]
    |--C. clarae (Tenison-Woods 1880) [=Pleurotoma clarae, *Carinacomitas clarae]P66
    |--C. crenularoides (Pritchard 1896) [=Drillia crenularoides]P66
    |--C. declivis Powell 1931P66
    |--C. eurina (Smith 1899) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) eurina]P66
    |--C. galatheae Powell 1969MG-H11
    |--C. habei Shuto 1961 [=C. (Fusiturricula) habei]P66
    |--C. hillegondae (Martin 1931) [=Pleurotoma hillegondae]P66
    |--C. ilariae Bozzetti 1991BC01
    |--C. imperfecta King 1933P66
    |--C. kaderlyi (Lischke 1872) [=Pleurotoma kaderlyi]P66
    |--C. kaipara Laws 1939P66
    |--C. kamakurana (Pilsbry 1895)P66 [=Pleurotoma kamakuranaP66; incl. Turricula (Surcula) laysanica Dall 1919P66, D19]
    |--C. kayalensis (Dey 1962) [=Turricula kayalensis]P66
    |--C. kuroharai (Oyama 1962) [=Turricula kuroharai]P66
    |--C. latescens (Hutton 1873) [=Pleurotoma latescens]P66
    |--C. latiaxialis (Marshall 1918) [=Surcula latiaxialis]P66
    |--C. lurida (Adams & Reeve 1850) [=Pleurotoma lurida]P66
    |--C. margaritae (Smith 1904) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) margaritae]P66
    |--C. melvilli (Schepman 1913) [=Surcula melvilli]P66
    |--C. miyazakiensis Shuto 1961 [=C. (Fusiturricula) miyazakiensis]P66
    |--C. murrawolga (Garrard 1961) [=Turricula murrawolga]P66
    |--C. onokeana King 1933P66
    |    |--C. o. onokeanaP66
    |    `--C. o. vivens Dell 1956P66
    |--C. pagodaeformis (Schepman 1913) [=Drillia pagodaeformis]P66
    |--C. pseudoclarae Powell 1944P66
    |--C. saldanhae (Barnard 1958) [=Turris saldanhae]P66
    |--C. salebrosa (Harris 1897) [=Pleurotoma salebrosa]P66
    |--C. sibogae (Schepman 1913) [=Spergo sibogae]P66
    |--C. sobrina (Yokoyama 1923) [=Drillia sobrina]P66
    |--C. solitaria (King 1933) [=Insolentia solitaria]P66
    |--C. stolida (Hinds 1843) [=Pleurotoma stolida]P66
    |--C. subcarinapex Powell 1942 [=C. (Carinacomitas) subcarinapex]P66
    |--C. subsuturalis (Martens 1902)P66
    |--C. symbiotes (Wood-Mason & Alcock 1891) [=Pleurotoma symbiotes]P66
    |    |--C. s. symbiotesP66
    |    `--C. s. subcorpulenta (Smith 1894) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) subcorpulenta]P66
    |--C. terrisae Vella 1954P66
    |--C. thisbe (Smith 1906) [=Pleurotoma (Surcula) thisbe]P66
    |--C. torquayensis Powell 1944P66
    |--C. trailli (Hutton 1873) [=Pleurotoma trailli; incl. Surcula verrucosa Suter 1899]P66
    `--C. wynyardensis (Pritchard 1896) [=Pleurotoma wynyardensis]P66

Comitas fusiformis (Hutton 1877)P66 [=Drillia fusiformisP66; incl. Surcula huttoni Suter 1914P66, Surcula oamarutica Suter 1917P66, *Comitas oamaruticaP66, Turricula oamaruticaF27]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[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.

[D19] Dall, W. H. 1919. Descriptions of new species of mollusks of the family Turritidae from the west coast of America and adjacent regions. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 56 (2288): 1–86, pls 1–24.

[F27] Finlay, H. J. 1927. New specific names for austral Mollusca. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 488–533.

Kantor, Y. I., & J. D. Taylor. 2000. Formation of marginal radular teeth in Conoidea (Neogastropoda) and the evolution of the hypodermic envenomation mechanism. Journal of Zoology 252: 251–262.

[MG-H11] McEnnulty, F. R., K. L. Gowlett-Holmes, A. Williams, F. Althaus, J. Fromont, G. C. B. Poore, T. D. O’Hara, L. Marsh, P. Kott, S. Slack-Smith, P. Alderslade & M. V. Kitahara. 2011. The deepwater megabenthic invertebrates on the western continental margin of Australia (100–1100 m depths): composition, distribution and novelty. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 80: 1–191.

[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.

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