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Shell penetration and feeding by naticacean and muricacean predatory gastropods: a synthesis
Carriker, M.R. (1981). Shell penetration and feeding by naticacean and muricacean predatory gastropods: a synthesis. Malacologia 20(2): 403-422
In: Malacologia: International Journal of Malacology. Institute of Malacology: Ann Arbor. ISSN 0076-2997, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Feeding; Predators; Gastropoda [WoRMS]; Muricoidea Rafinesque, 1815 [WoRMS]; Naticacea; Marine

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  • Carriker, M.R.

    Predatory gastropod shell borers occur among the Capulidae, Naticacae, Tonnacea, Muricacea, and Vayssiereidae. With the exception of boring nudibranchs, all known gastropod borers are shelled. This synthesis is concerned primarily with naticacean and muricacean borers that excavate smooth, round, beveled holes. They occur in every coastal region of the world that has been examined, and identify prey chemoreceptively. The shell penetrating mechanism includes at least an accessory boring organ (ABO) and radula. The ABO is located in three separate anatomical regions in different groups of borers: in muricaceans, in the sole of the foot anterior to the ventral pedal gland or atop the ventral pedal gland; in naticaceans, under the tip of the proboscis. Studies of the ABO of several species of naticacean and muricacean snails reveal a common ultrastructural form. An acid (possibly HCI) and unidentified chelating agents and enzymes in a hypertonic mucoid secretion released by the ABO are hypothesized to dissolve shell during hole boring. All 33 species of naticacean and muricacean snails examined possess an ABO and are shell borers; the ABO does not appear to have evolved in other shell penetrating molluscs. The role of tubular salivary glands (missing in some muricids and naticids), hypobranchial glands, and anterior pedal mucous glands in shell penetration is uncertain. Borers release paralytic substances from the hypobranchial gland, and possibly also from other glands associated with the proboscis. Gastropods known to bore holes in prey shell date from the Jurassic and perhaps the late Triassic, some two hundred million years ago. Progress is being made in the control of commercially important species of muricaceans, but not of naticaceans.

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