Horned helmet Cassis cornuta, copyright In-depth Images Kwajalein.

Belongs within: Cassoidea.

The Cassidae, helmet shells, are medium-sized to large marine gastropods that are predatory on echinoids, which they attack by squirting them with a paralysing salivary juice. Females lay large egg-masses containing hundreds of gelatinous capsules; in some cases large irregular masses may be produced seemingly by several females spawning together (Wilson & Gillett 1971).

Characters (from Wilson & Gillett 1971): Shell usually oval or globose, aperture rather wide and long; shell may be glossy-smooth or heavily sculptured with ribs and nodules. Outer lip thickened to form a varix, with inner edge often toothed; other varices representing outer lip of earlier growth stages may be present. Left side of aperture with flat or inclined shield-like callus, either confined to columellar area (as columellar shield), or covering both columella and parietal wall and forming flange along whole left side. Spiral channel present running under columellar shield into true umbilicus; second smaller cavity (false umbilicus) often present under columellar shield at extreme anterior end. Operculum horny, semicircular, not filling aperture.

Cassidae [Cassidites] BW09
    |--Phaliinae BR05
    |    |--Semicassis Mörch 1852 MG-H11, WG71
    |    |    |--S. adcocki (Sowerby 1896) [=Phalium (Semicassis) adcocki] WG71
    |    |    |--S. bisulcata (Schubert & Wagner 1829) MG-H11 [=Phalium (Semicassis) bisulcatum WG71]
    |    |    |--S. (Semicassis) bondarevi Mühlhäusser & Parth 1993 [incl. Phalium (S.) vector Abbott 1994] BC01
    |    |    |--S. decussata F66
    |    |    |--S. glabrata (Dunker 1852) [=Phalium (Semicassis) glabratum] WG71
    |    |    |    |--S. g. glabrata WG71
    |    |    |    `--S. g. angasi (Iredale 1927) [=Phalium (Semicassis) glabratum angasi] WG71
    |    |    |--S. semigranosa (Lamarck 1822) [=Phalium (Semicassis) semigranosum] WG71
    |    |    |--S. sophia (Brazier 1872) [=Phalium (Semicassis) sophia] WG71
    |    |    `--S. whitworthi (Abbott 1968) MG-H11
    |    `--Phalium Link 1807 S11, BR05
    |         |  i. s.: P. bituberculosum (von Martens 1903) ES88
    |         |         P. granulatum (Born 1778) S11
    |         |         P. iheringi (Carcelles 1953) S11
    |         |         P. microstoma (von Martens 1901) ES88
    |         |         P. plicaria C60
    |         |         P. strigatum C60
    |         |--P. (Phalium) WG71
    |         |    |--P. (P.) areola Linnaeus 1758 WG71 [=Semicassis areola F66]
    |         |    |--P. (P.) bandatum Perry 1811 WG71
    |         |    `--P. (P.) glaucum Linnaeus 1758 WG71
    |         `--P. (Xenophalium Iredale 1927) WG71 [incl. Xenogalea Iredale 1927 P61]
    |              |--*Xenophalium’ (X.) hedleyi P61
    |              |--‘Xenophalium’ abernethyi Dell 1956 [=X. (Xenogalea) abernethyi] P61
    |              |--‘Xenophalium’ collactea Finlay 1928 [=X. (Xenogalea) collactea] P61
    |              |--‘Xenophalium’ ericanum Powell 1928 [=X. (Xenogalea) ericanum] P61
    |              |--‘Xenophalium’ finlayi Iredale 1927 [=X. (Xenogalea) finlayi] P61
    |              |--‘Xenophalium’ hamiltoni Powell 1928 [=X. (Xenogalea) hamiltoni] P61
    |              |--‘Xenophalium’ harrisonae Powell 1928 [=X. (Xenogalea) harrisonae] P61
    |              |--P. (X.) labiatum (Perry 1811) WG71 (see below for synonymy)
    |              |--‘Xenophalium’ matai Powell 1952 [=X. (Xenogalea) matai] P61
    |              |--P. (X.) pauciruge Menke 1843 WG71
    |              |--‘Xenophalium’ powelli Finlay 1928 [=X. (Xenogalea) powelli] P61
    |              |--P. (X.) pyrum Lamarck 1822 WG71 (see below for synonymy)
    |              |--‘Xenophalium’ (X.) royanum (Iredale 1912) P61
    |              |--P. (X.) thomsoni Brazier 1875 [incl. P. palinodium Iredale 1931] WG71
    |              `--P. (X.) whitworthi Abbott 1968 WG71
    `--Cassinae BR05
         |--Cypraecassis Stutchbury 1837 WG71
         |    |--C. (Cypraecassis) rufa (Linnaeus 1758) WG71
         |    `--C. testiculus (Linné 1758) S11
         |--Bezoardica [incl. Echinophoria] F27a
         |    |--*B. areola F27a
         |    `--B. intermedia [=Cassis intermedia, *Echinophoria intermedia] F27a
         |--Euspinacassis Finlay 1926 F27a
         |    |--E. grangei (Marwick 1926) [=Phalium grangei] F27a
         |    |--E. muricata [=Cassis muricata] F27a
         |    `--E. pollens Finlay 1926 F27a
         |--Casmaria Adams & Adams 1853 WG71
         |    |--C. erinaceus (Linnaeus 1758) BW09
         |    |--C. ponderosa Gmelin 1791 WG71
         |    |    |--C. p. ponderosa WG71
         |    |    `--C. p. perryi Iredale 1912 WG71
         |    `--C. pyrum F27a
         |--Galeodea Link 1807 DK08
         |    |--*G. echinophora [=Buccinum echinophorum] P61
         |    |--G. apodemetes M49
         |    |--G. (Taieria) klingeri Kiel & Bandel 2003 BD12
         |    |--G. leucodoma Dall 1907 MG-H11
         |    |--G. senex A27
         |    `--G. triganceae Dell 1953 P61
         |--Cassidea F27b
         |    |--C. areola (Linnaeus 1758) [=Buccinum areolum] H09
         |    |--C. coronulata (Sowerby 1825) [=Cassis coronulata] H09
         |    |--C. glauca (Linnaeus 1758) [=Buccinum glaucum] H09
         |    |--C. multisecta Finlay 1924 [=Cassis striatus Hutton 1873 (preoc.)] F27b
         |    |--C. nodulosa [incl. C. nodulosa var. torquata] H09
         |    |--C. pila (Reeve 1848) [=Cassis pila] H09
         |    `--C. vibex (Linnaeus 1758) [=Buccinum vibex] H09
         `--Cassis Scopoli 1777 BR05
              |  i. s.: C. adami Eichwald 1830 [=Cancellaria adami] PH90
              |         C. deucalionis Eichwald 1830 [=Cancellaria deucalionis] PH90
              |         C. exigua Tenison-Woods 1879 F71
              |         C. flammea C60
              |         C. tuberosa (Linné 1758) S11
              |--C. (Cassis) cornuta (Linnaeus 1758) WG71 [=Buccinum cornutum H09]
              `--C. (Hypocassis Iredale 1927) WG71
                   |--C. (H.) fimbriata Quoy & Gaimard 1833 [incl. C. bicarinata Jonas 1839] WG71
                   `--C. (H.) nana Tenison-Woods 1879 WG71

Phalium (Xenophalium) labiatum (Perry 1811) WG71 [=Xenophalium (Xenogalea) labiatum P61; incl. Xenogalea imperata Iredale 1927 WG71]

Phalium (Xenophalium) pyrum Lamarck 1822 WG71 [=Cassis pyrum P61, Semicassis pyrum HS01, Xenophalium (*Xenogalea) pyrum P61; incl. Xenogalea denda Cotton 1945 WG71, X. halli Cotton 1954 WG71, X. mawsoni Cotton 1945 WG71, Phalium niveum Brazier 1872 WG71, P. spectabile Iredale 1929 WG71, P. stadiale Hedley 1914 WG71]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A27] Allan, R. S. 1927. The geology and palaeontology of the Lower Waihao Basin, south Canterbury, New Zealand. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 265–309.

[BD12] Bandel, K., & D. T. Dockery III. 2012. Protoconch characters of Late Cretaceous Latrogastropoda (Neogastropoda and Neomesogastropoda) as an aid in the reconstruction of the phylogeny of the Neogastropoda. Freiberger Forschungshefte C542 (psf 20): 93–128.

[BR05] Bouchet, P., & J.-P. Rocroi. 2005. Classification and nomenclator of gastropod families. Malacologia 47 (1–2): 1–397.

[BC01] Boyko, C. B., & J. R. Cordeiro. 2001. Catalog of Recent type specimens in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History. V. Mollusca, part 2 (class Gastropoda [exclusive of Opisthobranchia and Pulmonata], with supplements to Gastropoda [Opisthobranchia], and Bivalvia). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 262: 1–170.

[BW09] Bryce, C., & C. Whisson. 2009. The macromolluscs of Mermaid (Rowley Shoals), Scott and Seringapatam Reefs, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 77: 177–208.

[C60] Cox, L. R. 1960. Gastropoda: general characteristics of Gastropoda. In: Moore, R. C. (ed.) Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology pt I. Mollusca 1: Mollusca—General Features, Scaphopoda, Amphineura, Monoplacophora, Gastropoda—General Features, Archaeogastropoda and some (mainly Paleozoic) Caenogastropoda and Opisthobranchia pp. I84–I169. Geological Society of America, and University of Kansas Press.

[DK08] Darragh, T. A., & G. W. Kendrick. 2008. Silicified Eocene molluscs from the Lower Murchison district, Southern Carnarvon Basin, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 24 (3): 217–246.

[ES88] Emerson, W. K., & W. E. Sage III. 1988. A new species of Vasum (Gastropoda: Turbinellidae) from off Somalia. Nautilus 102 (1): 36–39.

[F27a] Finlay, H. J. 1927a. A further commentary on New Zealand molluscan systematics. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 320–485.

[F27b] Finlay, H. J. 1927b. New specific names for austral Mollusca. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 488–533.

[F71] Fletcher, H. O. 1971. Catalogue of type specimens of fossils in the Australian Museum, Sydney. Australian Museum Memoir 13: 1–167.

[F66] Fraser, L. 1866. Communication of a list of mollusks collected by R. Swinhoe, Esq., in Formosa. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 146.

[HS01] Hayward, B. W., A. B. Stephenson, M. S. Morley, W. M. Blom, H. R. Grenfell, F. J. Brook, J. L. Riley, F. Thompson & J. J. Hayward. 2001. Marine biota of Parengarenga Harbour, Northland, New Zealand. Records of the Auckland Museum 37: 45–80.

[H09] Hedley, C. 1909. The Marine Fauna of Queensland: Address by the President of Section D. Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science: Brisbane.

[M49] Mason, B. 1949. The geology of Mandamus-Pahau district, north Canterbury. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 77 (3): 403–428.

[MG-H11] McEnnulty, F. R., K. L. Gowlett-Holmes, A. Williams, F. Althaus, J. Fromont, G. C. B. Poore, T. D. O’Hara, L. Marsh, P. Kott, S. Slack-Smith, P. Alderslade & M. V. Kitahara. 2011. The deepwater megabenthic invertebrates on the western continental margin of Australia (100–1100 m depths): composition, distribution and novelty. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 80: 1–191.

[PH90] Petit, R. E., & M. G. Harasewych. 1990. Catalogue of the superfamily Cancellarioidea Forbes and Hanley, 1851 (Gastropoda: Prosobranchia). Nautilus 103 (Suppl. 1): 1–69.

[P61] Powell, A. W. B. 1961. Shells of New Zealand: An illustrated handbook 4th ed. Whitcombe and Tombs Limited: Christchurch.

[S11] Simone, L. R. L. 2011. Phylogeny of the Caenogastropoda (Mollusca), based on comparative morphology. Arquivos de Zoologia 42 (4): 161–323.

[WG71] Wilson, B. R., & K. Gillett. 1971. Australian Shells: illustrating and describing 600 species of marine gastropods found in Australian waters. A. H. & A. W. Reed: Sydney.

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