Class: Gastropoda
Superfamily: MURICOIDEA
Family: Olividae


Tropical and southern temperate regions. Usually from shallow waters but alos known from deep waters.


Locality: La Passe, Silhouette, intertidal, Seychelles, Indian, August 2007, on interidal boulder. Length: c. 1cm. Photographer: Richard Barnes

This group of carnivorous marine snails are characterised by a genus named Oliva, although any resemblance to an olive escapes me. They range in size from about 1 cm to 10 cm. Their shells are solid and cylindrical with a distinct pointed spire and they are usually smooth and shiny. Most species are inhabitants of soft substrates found ploughing through the surface layers of sandy substrates or burrowing. Their head flattened and wedge-shaped, adapted to ploughing through sandy sediments. The head tentacles are flattened and triangular. In some groups the sides of the foot are extended into parapodia which partly enclose the shell. In many ways these adaptations resemble those found in some cephalspidean opisthobranchs such as Pupa and Acteon which live in similar habitats.

The genera include Oliva, Ancilla, and Olivella

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2007 (November 2) Olividae. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/olividae

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