Limacina helicina, copyright Alexander Semenov.

Belongs within: Euopisthobranchia.
Contains: Cavoliniidae.

The Thecosomata, sea butterflies, are a group of pelagic marine gastropods that have the foot modified into a pair of wing-like parapodia used in swimming. Most Thecosomata retain a calcareous shell though the shell is demineralised or lost in some subgroups. Loss of the adult shell is found in the Cymbuliidae and Desmopterus within the Cymbulioidea.

See also: Crystal butterflies of the sea.

<==Thecosomata [Campyloconques, Eupteropoda]
    |  i. s.: Tiedemannia BR05
    |         Bovicornu Meyer 1886 CR13
    |--Cymbulioidea (see below for synonymy) BR05
    |    |--Desmopterus Chun 1889 CR13, BR05 [Desmopteridae]
    |    |    |--*D. papilio Chun 1889 BR17
    |    |    |--D. gardinieri CR13
    |    |    `--D. pacificus Essenberg 1919 O27
    |    `--+--Peraclidae [Peraclacea, Peraclididae] BR05
    |       |    |--Procymbulia Meisenheimer 1905 [Procymbuliidae] BR05
    |       |    |    `--*P. valdiviae Meisenheimer 1905 BR17
    |       |    `--Peracle Forbes 1844 CR13, BR05
    |       |         |--*P. physoides Forbes 1844 BR17
    |       |         |--P. apicifulva CR13
    |       |         |--P. bispinosa CR13
    |       |         |--P. depressa CR13
    |       |         |--P. moluccensis CR13
    |       |         |--P. reticulata P61
    |       |         |--P. triacantha CR13
    |       |         `--P. valdiviae CR13
    |       `--Cymbuliidae [Cymbuliadae, Subtestacea] BR05
    |            |--Cymbulia Péron & Lesueur 1810 CR13, BR05 [Cymbuliinae]
    |            |    |--*C. proboscidea Lamarck 1816 BR17
    |            |    |--C. parvidentata Pelseneer 1888 P61
    |            |    |--C. peroni P61
    |            |    `--C. sibogae CR13
    |            `--+--Gleba Forskål 1776 CR13, BR05 [Glebinae] BR05
    |               |    `--*G. cordata Forskål 1776 BR17
    |               `--Corolla Dall 1871 CR13, O27
    |                    |--*C. spectabilis Dall 1871 O27
    |                    |--C. calceaolaris CR13
    |                    |--C. chrysosticta CR13
    |                    |--C. cupula CR13
    |                    `--C. ovata CR13
    `--Euthecosomata BR17
         |--Cavolinioidea [Orthoconcha] BR05
         |    |  i. s.: Camptoceros Wenz 1929 CR13
         |    |--Cavoliniidae BR05
         |    |--Sphaerocina Jung 1971 [Sphaerocinidae] BR05
         |    |    `--*S. formae (Audenino 1897) [=Limacina formae] BR17
         |    |--Praecuvierina Janssen 2005 [Praecuvierinidae] BR17
         |    |    `--*P. lura (Hodgkinson 1992) [=Cuvierina lura] BR17
         |    `--Creseis Rang 1828 BR05 [Creseidae BR17, Creseinae]
         |         |--*C. acicula Rang 1828 BR17 [=Clio acicula H09]
         |         |--C. chierchae CR13
         |         |--C. conica B26
         |         `--C. virgula Rang 1828 P61 [=Clio virgula H09]
         `--Limacinidae [Limacinacea, Limacinoidea, Limacinoidei, Spiratellacea, Spiratellidae, Spiriconcha] BR17
              |--Altaspiratella CR13
              |--Embolus Jeffreys 1869 nec Haller 1768 (ICBN) nec Batsch 1783 (ICBN) P61
              |    `--*E. inflatus (d’Orbigny 1836) P61 [=Atlanta inflata H09, Limacina (Thilea) inflata CR13]
              |--Thielea Strebel 1908 P61
              |    `--T. helicoides [=Limacina helicoides; incl. *T. procera] P61
              |--Spirialis Eydoux & Souleyet 1840 [Spirialidae] BR05
              |    |--*S. trochiformis (d’Orbigny 1834) [=Atlanta trochiformis] BR17
              |    |--S. flemingii J64
              |    |--S. macandrei J64
              |    |--S. mercinensis Watelet & Lefèvre 1885 CR13
              |    `--S. retroversus N79
              `--Limacina Bosc 1817 [=Spiratella Blainville 1817] BR05
                   |--*L. helicina (Phipps 1774) BR17 [=Clio helicina BR17, *Spiratella helicina P61]
                   |    |--L. h. helicina CR13
                   |    `--L. h. antartica CR13 [=Spiratella antarctica O27]
                   |--L. arctica G20
                   |--‘Spiratella’ australis (Eydoux & Souleyet 1840) P61
                   |--‘Spiratella’ balea (Moeller 1841) P61
                   |--L. bulimoides (d’Orbigny 1836) H09 (see below for synonymy)
                   |--L. lesueurii d’Orbigny 1836 CR13, P61 [=Atlanta leseuri H09, L. (Thilea) lesueurii CR13]
                   |--L. mercinensis (Watelet & Lefèvre 1885) TTE93
                   |--‘Spiratella’ pacifica Dall 1871 O27
                   |--L. rangii B26
                   |--L. retroversa [incl. L. balea] B26
                   `--L. trochiformis [=L. (Munthea) trochiformis] CR13

Cymbulioidea [Cymbuliacea, Cymbulioidei, Peraclida, Peracliformes, Peracliformii, Peracloidei, Pseudothecosomata] BR05

Limacina bulimoides (d’Orbigny 1836) H09 [=Atlanta bulimoides H09, L. (Munthea) bulimoides CR13, Spiratella bulimoides P61]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B26] Bigelow, H. B. 1926. Plankton of the offshore waters of the Gulf of Maine. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries 40 (2): 1–509.

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

[BR17] Bouchet, P., J.-P. Rocroi, B. Hausdorf, A. Kaim, Y. Kano, A. Nützel, P. Parkhaev, M. Schrödl & E. E. Strong. 2017. Revised classification, nomenclator and typification of gastropod and monoplacophoran families. Malacologia 61 (1–2): 1–526.

[CR13] Corse, E., J. Rampal, C. Cuoc, N. Pech, Y. Perez & A. Gilles. 2013. Phylogenetic analysis of Thecosomata Blainville, 1824 (holoplanktonic Opisthobranchia) using morphological and molecular data. PLoS One 8 (4): e59439.

[G20] Goldfuss, G. A. 1820. Handbuch der Naturgeschichte vol. 3. Handbuch der Zoologie pt 1. Johann Leonhard Schrag: Nürnberg.

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

[J64] Jeffreys, J. G. 1864. Report of the committee appointed for exploring the coasts of Shetland by means of the dredge. Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 33: 70–81.

[N79] Norman, A. M. 1879. The Mollusca of the fiords near Bergen, Norway. Journal of Conchology 2: 8–77.

[O27] Oldroyd, I. S. 1927. The Marine Shells of the West Coast of North America vol. 2 pt 1. Stanford University Press: Stanford University (California).

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

[TTE93] Tracey, S., J. A. Todd & D. H. Erwin. 1993. Mollusca: Gastropoda. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 131–167. Chapman & Hall: London.

Last updated: 1 September 2021.

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