Common name: Pseudomelatomidae is one of several families in the Conoidea often referred to as turrid shells
Key morphological features: The Pseudomelatomidae are small to large gastropods with turreted, high-spired shells, generally fusiform in shape. Most species have prominent exterior sculpture, including both spiral and axial features. Most species have a subsutural fold and a well-developed anal sinus. Protoconch in most species is paucispiral, but may be multispiral (up to three whorls). Source: Bouchet et al. (2011)
Geological range: Eocene to Recent (iDigBio).
Geographic distribution: A distributional map for modern Pseudomelatomidae may be accessed from OBIS. A distributional map for ancient Pseudomelatomidae may be accessed from the Paleobiology Database.
Diversity: There are 493 recognized living species of Pseudomelatomidae and 60 genera (WoRMS database, unvetted). The Paleobiology Database recognizes 1 fossil genera and 3 fossil species of Pseudomelatomidae (unvetted). The current classification of Pseudomelatomidae was established in 2011 (Puillandre et al., 2011; Bouchet et al., 2011), so the low fossil diversity and geographic range in the Paleobiology Database is likely an artifact of the relatively recent improvement in our understanding of the classification of the Conoidea. A potentially more accurate representation of this gastropod family’s fossil record can be found on iDigBio.
Paleoecology: The extant Pseudomelatomidae are predatory marine gastropods. They are found in sandy substrates at a wide range of depths from intertidal to thousands of meters and range from tropical to temperate latitudes. Sources: Harasewych, M.G., Moretzsohn, F. 2010. The book of shells. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 656 pp.; OBIS
Phylogenetic status: Monophyletic. The molecular phylogenetic analysis of Puillandre et al. (2011) supports the monophyly of Family Pseudomelatomidae.