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Aporrhaidae, their evolution from Rupelian, Oligocene onwards

  • Ulrich Wieneke's Lab


The family Aporrhaidae (Gastropoda: Stromboidea) comprises six extant species. In a study of the soft parts of three of them, a deep evolutionary split between “Aporrhais” serresiana on the one hand and Aporrhais pespelecani/Arrhoges occidentalis on the other hand was found. This talk presents an attempt to explain this based on an analysis of the fossil record. Several thousand specimens from Rupelian (Oligocene) to recent faunas were examined and classified regarding their age and geographical origin. A search for morphological patterns reveals some basic characters: the form of rostrum and spines and the existence of a ventral callus. These characters make it possible to initially split the aporrhaids into three basic lineages. However, detailed examination of the callus in relation to environmental factors and the sympatric occurrence of two differently callused species point to the existence of a fourth lineage. The species and characters of the lineages are a) the spiky aporrhaids with fingers like in “Aporrhais” uttingeriana or “Triacontium” mirandum; b) those without a callus, but with a shovel-like rostrum and with a solid wing like in “Aporrhais” speciosa or Aporrhais pespelecani; c) those with a thick, sledge-like ventral callus, like in “Aporrhais” margerini or “Strombopugnellus” digitolabrum and d) those with a thin, irregular ventral callus like in “Cerycium” paradoxum or “Aporrhais” unisinuata. The formation of isolated or nearly isolated basins like the Central and Eastern Paratethys, the Mediterranean and the North Sea basin further splits the above mentioned four aporrhaid lineages. It leads to a complex evolutionary lineage pattern, which is at the moment not reflected in taxonomy and nomenclature. Most of the examined specimens fit into this pattern; some, like “Aporrhais” serresiana, do not. Possible explanations for the existence of these extra-pattern species are hybridization or introgression, extreme environmental conditions, immigration from other areas, and merging evolutionary lineages.
Ulrich Wieneke
Recent Aporrhaidae
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Arrhoges occidentalis (Beck, 1836)
Study of the stromboidean Anatomy
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The Callused Ones
The Spiky Ones
The Normal Ones
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The Evoluonary Cac
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