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Posted: Jan 14 2014

                           Nassarius antillarum (d’Orbigny, 1847), Antilles Nassa                          [WoRMS has adopted the generic designation Phrontis based upon Galindo L.A., Puillandre N., Utge J., Lozouet P. & Bouchet P. (2016). The phylogeny and systematics of the Nassariidae revisited (Gastropoda, Buccinoidea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 99: 337-353]

This is the third of five presentations I’ve developed to facilitate the assignment of species names to a group of confounding white (most of the time) Nassarius* found in Florida and near-Florida waters. My approach has been to identify key distinguishing characters in original descriptions of the four species most commonly reported in Florida and link them to subsequently defined protoconch features. Since there is no known type material or figures for three of the four, this work should not be considered definitive. We will continue to have to deal with conflicting opinions on this group until neotypes are designated (hopefully based upon DNA analysis). Three of the presentations deal with those in the group with assigned names, but for which there is no known type material or figures, one presents those considered innominate, and this presentation addresses the one in the group for which we have a figure that has also been designated as the lectotype, N. antillarum (d’Orbigny, 1847). The four named taxa in this group are:

N. albus (Say, 1826)                                 No type or figure                  Protoconch of 2.75 - 3.25 whorls
N. antillarum (d’Orbigny, 1847)             Lectotype figure below        Protoconch of 2½ - 2¾ whorls
N. consensus (Ravenel, 1861)                No type or figure                   Protoconch of 3¼ - 3½ whorls
N. paucicostatus (Marrat, 1877)            No type or figure                   Protoconch of 1½ -2 whorls

To accomplish my task I have relied upon the Florida material in my collection self-collected by myself and Phil Poland since about 1988, self-collected Nassarius from the Florida Keys provided by Andy Borgia, the related collection of Nassarius from Ohio State University loaned by G. Thomas Watters, Curator of Molluscs, and Bahamian specimens of N. antillarum loaned by Colin Redfern. Harry Lee has provided constant and invaluable guidance and consultation for all five of these presentations. From review of this material and records of Nassarius collected in Florida, I have concluded that all the little white Florida Nassarius are variations of N. consensus, N. paucicostatus, N. albus or are unnamed, and that N. antillarum does not occur in Florida. A review of collecting reports and checklists for Florida waters revealed N. antillarum reported in Florida only on the Jaxshells website Peanut Island Marine Mollusk Checklist curated by Harry Lee. I have reviewed some of this material and discussed the issue with Lee and we agree that assignment of the name N. antillarum to the Peanut Island material was inappropriate.


Nassarius antillarum (d’Orbigny, 1847)

Thanks to information provided by Chris Vos, it appears d’Orbigny’s original description was proffered in some manner in 1840, but the first documented publication was in Sagra,

1847. d’Orbigny’s description is based upon a group of syntypes.

However, Kaicher (1982) found that only two specimens in the

group truly matched d’Orbigny’s description. One of these two

is illustrated in Kaicher card 3232. When De Jong & Coomans

(1988) examined the nine syntypes present in BMNH they also

found that they all did not match d’Orbigny’s description and,

as a result, designated d’Orbigny’s figure as the lectotype.

Adjacent is the figure (repositioned as we currently are

accustomed to presenting illustrations).


And, here are Kaicher’s card 3232 with a photo of one of the two syntypes resembling the figure and a photo of what is apparently the other of the most closely resembling syntypes from Faber (2004):

d’Orbigny’s description is in Latin with comments in French:

The following slide presentation of Nassarius antillarum (d’Orbigny, 1847) relied upon my observations of two specimens loaned by Colin Redfern and the characters emphasized in the reports of De Jong & Coomans (1988), Faber (2004), Kaicher (1982), Lee (1998) and Redfern (2001). While many of d’Orbigny’s described characters can normally be expected to vary across populations and over geographic areas, the characters taken together that distinguish this taxon from the others in this group are:

1. An erect, conical protoconch with 2½ - 2¾ moderately convex, smooth whorls expanding evenly with each whorl. Nuclear whorl not elevated or tilted.
2. Axial ribs whorls, keeled (or carinate) on all whorls producing shouldering high on each whorl with slightly swollen knobs.

3. Axial ribs above keel fade quickly and do not reach to the suture.
4. Spiral striae over entire shell across the ribs and interspaces.
5. Whitish or yellowish color marked by two or three brown transversal bands (dramatically darker over ribs and much lighter across interspaces), which are often joined.



Abbott, R. Tucker. 1974 American Seashells, Second Edition, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

d'Orbigny, A., in Sagra, 1847. Mollusques. Histoire Physique, Politique et Naturelle de l'île de Cuba 2: 129-224, pls. 22-25. [141-142, pl. 23, figs. 1-3; Type locality Cuba, St. Thomas, At. Lucia, and Guadeloupe.

De Jong, K. M. and Coomans, H. E. 1988. Marine Gastropods from Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire. Institute of Taxonomic Zoology, University of Amsterdam.

Faber, M. J. 2004. Marine gastropods from the ABC-islands and other localities. 2. The family Nassariidae (Gastropoda: Buccinoidea). Miscellanea Malacologica 1(1): 7-15, VIII.

Kaicher, S. 1982. Kaicher's Card Catalogue of World-Wide Shells. Pack #31 - Nassariidae Part 1. Privately printed, St. Petersburg FL, 108 cards.

Lee, Harry G. December 1998. Western Atlantic Nassariidae. American Conchologist 26 (4): 18-20.

Lee, H.G. July 2013. Nassa update: Application of the genus-level taxon Uzita H. and A. Adams , 1853 to a large and ubiquitous group of nassariids (Gastropoda: Buccinoidea). Shell-O-Gram 54(4): 6-7.

Redfern, Colin. 2001. Bahamian Seashells: A Thousand Species from Abaco, Bahamas., Inc: Boca Raton, Florida.

This presentation is very long and has 2 galleries.  Be sure to scroll down to view Gallery 2.

Gallery 1

Gallery 2

See also:

Nassariidae of Florida

Nassarius - Comparison of four white taxa in Florida & Bahamas

Nassarius antillarum 17.png
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