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Siphonids, Siphon Shells

The family Siphonariidae are marine pulmonates, related to land snails and slugs, with a limpet-like shell.

They can be distinguished from limpets by having a calloused area to the right-front of the shell, under which is the entrance to a modified mantle cavity, with secondary breathing organs of gill-like form, used for aquatic respiration.

The creature also differs from a limpet by not having tentacles on the head.

There are many Siphonids around the rocky shores of Australia, and it is very hard to distinguish the various forms. The reason for this is that most Field Guides are incorrect, and there is a lot of contradictory information.

Siphons Shells have been recently revised by Bill Rudman, at the Australian Museum, Sydney.


Small photo of a Denticulated Siphon Shell        Siphon Shell</b></a></font>Denticulated Siphon Shell, Siphonaria denticulata


Small photo of a Corded Siphon ShellCorded Siphon Shell, Siphonaria funiculata


For more information on Molluscs visit MESA Molluscs


Bennett, I. (1987) W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. p.356, Angus & Robertson, Sydney.

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.132, New Holland, Sydney.

Edgar, G.J. (1997) Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.354, Reed Books, Kew.

Quinn, G.P., Wescott, G.C. & Synnot, R.N. (1992) Life on the Rocky Shores of South-Eastern Australia: an illustrated field guide. p.83, Victorian National Parks Association, Melbourne.

Marine Research Group of Victoria (1984) Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: an atlas of selected species. p.141, Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.

Siphon Shells

Denticulated Siphon Shell
Corded Siphon Shell

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photo of Keith DaveyLife on Australian Seashores
by Keith Davey (C) 2000

Learning Consultant - Media
The University of Newcastle

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Scientific Consultant: Phil Colman
site created 01.01.98 : updated 01.04.2000