Major Subgroups in the Class

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda

Gastropod taxonomy is currently undergoing a period of dramatic change as the older classification system, based primarily on morphological similarity, is being updated as a result of advances in cladistics and DNA-sequencing. It is therefore likely that the evolutionary relationships within Class Gastropoda will be resolved to increasingly finer detail in the next few years. Current major subgroups are given below with geologic periods where available, and common names of well known members.

 Primary subgroup  Secondary subgroup Tertiary subgroup  Duration  Well known representatives
 Subclass Eogastropoda (earlier Prosobranchia)    Order Euomphalidae  Lower Ordovician - Triassic  
     Order Patellogastropoda  Upper cretaceous - Present  True limpets
 Subclass Orthogastropoda    Order Murchisoniina  Upper Cambrian - Lower Ordovician  
   Superorder Cocculiniformia    Miocene - Recent  
   Superorder 'Hot Vent Taxa'  Order Neomphaloida  Lower Cambrian - Recent  Hydrothermal vent limpets
   Superorder Vetigastropoda    Lower Cambrian - Recent  
   Superorder Neritaemorphi  Order Cyrtoneritomorpha  Fossil  
     Order Neritopsina  Middle Devonian - Recent  
   Superorder Caenogastropoda  Order Architaenioglossa  Lower Cambrian (?) - Recent  
     Order Sorbeoconcha    
   Superorder Heterobranchia  Order Heterostropha    
     Order Opisthobranchia  Carboniferous-Recent  Sea slugs, sea hares, sea butterflies, canoe shells.
     Order Pulmonata  Carboniferous-Recent  Land snails and slugs

Groups of uncertain taxonomic status


Order Mimospirida: Extinct molluscs (Cambrian - Carboniferous). This group exhibits a coiled shell and have previously been classified as gastropods. It has been suggested however, that this group should fall within a new class, the Paragastropoda.

Order Bellerophontida: Extinct molluscs (Cambrian - Triassic). Unlike many gastropods, their shells exhibit relatively flat, planispiral, coiling similar to that seen in cephalopods.


Back to the top

Back to gastropod index

Author: Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill
Last updated: 22.11.05
Return to Fossil groups home page


Websites produced by students on the MSc Palaeobiology programme in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol for academic year 2005-6