Mollusca (Molluscs)


Mollusca are bilateral (or secondarily asymmetrical) coelomate Protostomia with spiral cleavage and mostly a (often modified) trochophore‐like larva. Most species are provided with spicule or shell (plates), a mantle cavity with gills, a ciliary or muscular gliding sole (foot), a visceral portion with heart and excretory organs and alimentary tract with rasping tongue (radula).

Keywords: diversity; bauplan; evolution; phylogeny

Figure 1.

Phylogenetic relationships and schematic organizations of the extant classes of the Mollusca, including a diagram of the hypothetical molluscan stem species. Note that concrete exemplary anatomies are schematized rather than general bauplans. Modified from Salvini‐Plawen and Steiner (1996) and Haszprunar (2000).


Further Reading

Beesley PL, Ross GJB and Wells A (eds) (1998) Mollusca: The Southern Synthesis. Fauna of Australia, vols 5A and 5B. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing.

Harrison FW and Kohn AJ (eds) (1995) Microscopic Anatomy of Invertebrates, vol 5: Mollusca I: Aplacophora, Polyplacophora, Prosobranchia, Opisthobranchia. New York: Wiley‐Liss.

Harrison FW and Kohn AJ (eds) (1997) Microscopic Anatomy of Invertebrates, vols 6A and 6B: Mollusca II: Pulmonata, Monoplacophora, Bivalvia, Scaphopoda, Cephalopoda. New York: Wiley‐Liss.

Haszprunar G (2000) Is the Aplacophora monophyletic? A cladisitic point of view. American Malacological Bulletin 15: 115–130.

Rosenberg G (1992) The Encyclopedia of Seashells. New York: The Five Mile Press.

Salvini‐Plawen L and Steiner G (1996) Synapomorphies and plesiomorphies in higher classification of Mollusca. In: Taylor JD (ed.) Origin and Evolutionary Radiation of the Mollusca, pp. 29–51. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Taylor JD (ed.) (1996) Origin and Evolutionary Radiation of the Mollusca. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wilbur KM (ed.) (1983–1988) The Mollusca, vols 1–12. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.

Conch‐Net. Conchologists of America, Inc. [] [a good start with many links]

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How to Cite close
Haszprunar, Gerhard(May 2001) Mollusca (Molluscs). In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001598]