Sea butterfly

From Academic Kids

Sea butterflies
Missing image
Sea_butterfly.jpg
Sea butterfly


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Mollusca
Class:Gastropoda
Subclass:Orthogastropoda
Superorder:Heterobranchia
Order:Opisthobranchia
Suborder:Thecosomata
Families

Limacinidae
Cavoliniidae
Clioidae
Creseidae
Cuvierinidae
Praecuvierinidae
Peraclididae
Cymbuliidae
Desmopteridae

Sea butterflies, or flapping snails, are holoplanktonic mollusks (Mollusca, Gasteropoda), belonging to the suborder Thecosomata (Blainville, 1824). Holoplanktonic means that they are living in the water column between bottom and surface.

This a rather young group, having evolved from the Late Paleocene in the Cenozoic Era.

They float freely in the water, along with the currents. This has led to a number of adaptations in their bodies. The shell and the gill have disappeared in several families. Their foot has taken the form of two wing-like lobes, or parapodia, which propel this little animal through the sea by slow flapping movements. At times, they just float along, ventral-side up, with the currents. They are rather difficult to observe, since the shells are mostly colorless, very fragile and usually less than 1 cm in length. Their calcareous shells are bilateral symmetrical and can vary widely in shape: coiled, needle-like, triangular, globulous.

Little is known about the biology of sea butterflies. They have a peculiar way of feeding. They are mostly passive plankton feeders, but at times they can be real hunters. They entangle planktonic food, through a mucous web, than can be up to 5 cm wide, many times larger than themselves. If disturbed, they dump the net and flap slowly away. When descending to deeper water, they hold their wings up. Sometimes, they swarm in large numbers in flotsam along the coast of eastern Australia.

Every day, they migrate vertically in the water column, following their planktonic prey. At night they hunt at the surface and return to deeper water in the morning.

They also used to be called pteropods. This term, however, is applied to the suborder Thecosomata as well as to the suborder Gymnosomata. Mollusks of the suborder Thecosomata have a shell, while the Gymnosomata lack a shell.


Taxonomy

Thecosomata de Blainville, 1824

  • Infraorder Euthecosomata
    • Superfamily Limacinoidea
      • Family Limacinidae de Blainville, 1823
    • Superfamily Cavolinioidea
      • Family Cavoliniidae H. and A. Adams, 1854
      • Family Clioidae
      • Family Creseidae
      • Family Cuvierinidae
      • Family Praecuvierinidae
  • Infraorder Pseudothecosomata
    • Superfamily Peraclidoidea
      • Family Peraclididae C.W. Johnson, 1915
    • Superfamily Cymbulioidea
      • Family Cymbuliidae Gray, 1840
      • Family Desmopteridae Dall, 1921

Reference

  • A.W.H. Bé and R.W. Gilmer. 1977. A zoogeographic and taxonomic review of euthecosomatous pteropoda. Pp. 733-808 In: Oceanic Micropaleontology, Vol. 1. A.T.S. Ramsey (ed.). Academic Press, London.
  • S. van der Spoel, 1967. Euthecosomata, a group with remarkable developmental stages (Gastropoda, Pteropoda). Gorinchem (J. Noorduijn)(thesis University of Amsterdam):375 pp., 17 tabs, 366 figs
  • S. van der Spoel, 1976. Pseudothecosomata, Gymnosomata and Heteropoda (Gastropoda). Utrecht (Bohn, Scheltema & Holkema): 484 pp., 246 figs.
  • Cainozoic Research, 2(1-2): 163-170, 2003: regarding the raising of ranks.
Navigation

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)

Information

  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Toolbox
Personal tools