The Fasciolariidae, or Spindle shells encompass a wide range of species found mainly in tropical waters. The Fasciolaria, or Tulip shells often find their way into beginner collections first due to the relative abundance and size of many of the species. The Latirus and Peristernia, with their striking colors and strong sculpture, and the elegantly tapered Fusinus are among the most popular in this Family. Some Fasciolariids never grow above half an inch, while others like the Pleuroploca grow to be among the largest gastropods known.  The Fasciolariids are carnivores, feeding on other molluscan species.  The Opeatostoma have developed a hook-like tooth, or protuberance, which help the snail pry open bivalves.  Other Fasciolarids have a claw-like operculum with similar utility for opening bivalves.  A thick, flaky periostracum shroud the shells of many species of Fasciolariids, especially the Pleuroploca. The periostracum obscures the color and pattern of the shell.


The illustrated Fasciolariidae are from private, or museum collections.
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Dolicholatirus spiceri (Tenison-Woods, 1876) - Australia, 17mm - a rather rare species which lives subtidally in sea grass beds; not completely visible in this image is a muted purple shell color. Dolicholatirus cf. lancea (Gmelin, 1791) (probably: celinamarumi Kosuge) - Philippines, 54mm; a rare species found in the tangle nets of fishermen in the central Philippines; very similar to the brown-colored D. lancea. Fasciolaria bullisi Lyons, 1972 - Florida, 161mm - a rare deepwater species taken in the trawl nets of fishing boats.
Fusinus africanus (Sowerby, 1897) - South Africa, 97mm - an extremely large example of this rare Fusinus. Has a limited range in the Transkei of the Eastern Cape Province. This specimen was collected by a scuba diver. Fusinus benthalis Dall, 1889 - Florida, 12-13mm - dredged off Key West in 600 feet of water. One of the smallest of the genus. Uncommon. Fusinus colombiensis Snyder & Snyder, 1999 - Colombia, 20-24mm - recently described. Uncommonly dredged by fishing boats. The tilt of the spire is not an unusual occurence. This species is often mislabeled F. hartvigii.
WT-0181Fusinus stegeri Lyons, 1978 - Florida, 94mm - not uncommonly dredged in Gulf of Mexico. Latirus nematus Woodring, 1928 - San Andres Archipelago, Colombia, 25mm - one of the more uncommon Caribbean Latirus. Collected at scuba depths. Latirus recurvirostratum (Schubert & Wagner, 1829) - Japan, 67-73mm - trawled by fishing boats; rather uncommon.
Pleuroploca persica (Reeve, 1847) - Sri Lanka, 106-116mm - a rare species endemic to this region. Shells are collected by local divers.