imperial volute


Volutidae, common name volutes, are a taxonomic family of medium-sized to extremely large predatory sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the infraorder Neogastropoda.


This family of sea snails are found mainly in tropical seas, though some species also inhabit the waters of the polar circles.

Shell description

The shell of species such as Melo melo can grow larger than 30 cm (12 inches) in length.

Volutes are distinguished by their distinctively marked spiral shells (to which the family name refers, voluta meaning "scroll" in Latin).

The shells have an elongated aperture in their first whorl and an inner lip characterised by a number of deep plaits. The elaborate decorations of the shells has made them a popular collectors' item, with the imperial volute (Aulica imperialis) of the Philippines being particularly prized.


  • Amoriinae Gray, 1857
    • Tribe Meloini Pilsbry & Olsson, 1954
    • Tribe Amoriini Gray, 1857
  • Athletinae Pilsbry & Olsson, 1954
  • Calliotectinae Pilsbry & Olsson, 1954
  • Cymbiinae H.Adams & A.Adams, 1853
    • Tribe Adelomelonini Pilsbry & Olsson, 1954
    • Tribe Alcithoini Pilsbry & Olsson, 1954
    • Tribe Cymbiini H.Adams & A.Adams, 1853
    • Tribe Livoniini Bail & Poppe, 2001
    • Tribe Odontocymbiolini Clench & Turner, 1964
    • Tribe Zidonini H.Adams & A.Adams, 1853
  • Fulgorariinae Pilsbry & Olsson, 1954
  • Plicolivinae Bpichet, 1990
  • Scaphellinae Gray, 1857
  • Volutinae
    • Tribe Lyriini Pilsbry & Olsson, 1954
    • Tribe Volutini Rafinesque, 1815



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