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Volutidae, common name volutes, are a taxonomic family of predatory sea snails that range in size from 9 mm to over 500 mm, marine gastropod mollusks.


This family of sea snails are found mainly in tropical seas, though some species also inhabit the waters of the polar circles.

Shell description

The shell of species such as Melo amphora can grow as large as 50 cm (19.7 inches) in length.Poutiers, J. M. (1998). Gastropods in: FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes: The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific Volume 1. Seaweeds, corals, bivalves and gastropods. Rome, FAO, 1998. page 597.

Volutes are distinguished by their distinctively marked spiral shells (to which the family name refers, voluta meaning "scroll" in Latin).

The shells have an elongated aperture in their first whorl and an inner lip characterised by a number of deep plait. The elaborate decorations of the shells has made them a popular collectors' item, with the imperial volute (Aulica imperialis) of the Philippines being particularly prized.


Subfamilies and tribes

According to Bail & Poppe (2001)Bail, P. & Poppe, G. T. (2001). A taxonomic introduction to the recent Volutidae. In: Poppe, G. T. & Groh, K.: A Conchological Iconography. 30 pp., 5 plts. ConchBooks, Hackenheim, ISBN 3-925919-47-3. Volutidae can be subdivided into...
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