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One Last Look at the Muricidae
by Emily H. Vokes

In the forty years that I have been studying the Family Muricidae, many changes have taken place in the generic framework of the group. In 1960, almost all of the species were simply Murex, and such taxa as Chicoreus, Pterynotus and Hexaplex were considered as subgenera. In the subsequent years, several workers, most notably the late George Radwin and Anthony D'Attilio, and more recently Roland Houart, have made great strides in helping me to understand this fascinating bunch of snails. If they were not so fascinating how could I have spent forty years and still feel that there is so much that I do not yet understand!
In an attempt to find a path through the taxonomic maze that this supraspecific splitting has developed, I have generated a list of the generic groups and their suspected relationships. You will notice more subgeneric relationships in the Muricinae and Muricopsinae than in the other groups -- this is a reflection of the amount of work done on the fossil record of the groups in question. Needless to say, the thoughts expressed here are those of the author only and do not reflect a consensus among malacologic workers. But it is a place to start the argument.

I also frequently am asked, "Just how many species of Muricidae are there, anyway?" And the answer, of course, is: "It depends on whom you ask?" George Radwin would have given a very different answer from Ed Petuch, for instance. Over the years I have tried to compile what I think is a good "middle-of-the-road" approximation of this number. The lower number is certainly valid species, the higher number is "possible" (i.e., they may or may not be synonyms) species. If anyone wishes to put the entire list of species on the Internet, I will be happy to provide the list on diskette.*

The numbers given herein are for RECENT species only; to try to evaluate the fossil species would take another forty years! The indented names are considered subgenera.

MURICINAE


Murex s.s. - 31-33
Promurex - 1
Haustellum s.s. - 6-10
Vokesimurex - 33-34
Bolinus - 2
Chicoreus s.s. - 7-8
Triplex - 49-51
Siratus - 17
Rhizophorimurex - 1-2

Chicopinnatus - 3
Phyllonotus - 8
Naquetia - 5-7
Chicomurex - 6-7
Hexaplex - 19-21
Pterynotus s.s. - 27
Pterymarchia - 7
Pterochelus - 7
Purpurellus - 3

Ponderia - 6
Prototyphis - 3
Poirieria s.s. - 5
Paziella - 6
Pazinotus - 11
Panamurex - 4
Flexopteron - 2
Aspella - 17
Dermomurex s.s. - 18
Gracilimurex - 2
Takia - 6
Trialatella - 8
Viator - 3
Calotrophon - 3
Attiliosa - 10
Muricinae subtotal: 336-352

MURICOPSINAE


Muricopsis s.s. - 19
Risomurex - 18
Pradoxa - 2
Murexsul - 26-27
Acanthotrophon - 4-5
Murexiella s.s. - 35
Subpterynotus - 2
Homalocantha - 15
Maxwellia - 2
Favartia s.s. - 32-34
Caribiella - 4
?Pygmaepterys - 20
?Bizetiella - 3
Muricopsinae subtotal: 182-186

TYPHINAE


Typhis s.s. - 5
Typhina - 15
Rugotyphis - 1
Talityphis - 4
Typhisala - 3
Typhisopsis - 2
Typhinellus - 4
Haustellotyphis - 1
Siphonochelus s.s. - 23
Laevityphis - 4
Distichotyphis - 1
Typhinae subtotal: 63

TRIPTEROTYPHINAE


  Pterotyphis s.s. - 3 Tripterotyphis - 7  
Tripterotyphinae subtotal: 10

ERGALATAXINAE


Cronia s.s. - 3
Usilla - 1
Ergalatax - 9
Cumella - 1
Muricodrupa - 4
Pascula - 8
Spinidrupa - 1-2
Maculotriton - 2
Lataxiena - 6
Orania - 26
Cytharomorula - 5
Trachypollia - 4
Xanthochorus - 3
Phyllocoma - 2
Galfridus - 2
Cinclidotyphis - 1
Phrygiomurex - 1
Daphnellopsis - 3
Lindapterys - 2
Uttleya - 2
Ergalataxinae subtotal: 86-87

OCENEBRINAE


Ocenebra s.s. - 6
n. subgen. - 1
Hadriania - 1
Genkaimurex - 2
Ocinebrina - 21
Jaton - 3
Ceratostoma - 6
Pterorytis - 1
Pteropurpura s.s. - 15-16
Calcitrapessa - 1
Poropteron - 4
Ocinebrellus - 5
Nucella s.s. - 11
Acanthina - 2
Acanthinucella - 6
Trochia - 1
n. subgen. - 2
Forreria s.s. - 1
Austrotrophon - 3
Zacatrophon - 1
Chorus - 1
Urosalpinx - 6
Vaughtia - 6
Roperia - 1
Eupleura - 7
Crassilabrum - 1
Chicocenebra - 1
Vitularia - 2
Lepsiella - 6
Haustrum - 3
Bedeva - 4
Ocenebrinae subtotal: 131-132

RAPANINAE (aka THAIDINAE)


The plethora of monotypic (or almost so) genera suggests that either we are cutting things too fine, or this is an extremely diverse group.

Rapana - 3
Purpura - 3
Plicopurpura - 2-3
Concholepas - 1
Nassa - 3
Pinaxia - 2
Vexilla - 2
Thais s.s. - 4
Tribulus - 2
Neorapana - 3
Vasula - 1
Reishia - 2
Dicathais - 1
Cymia - 1
Stramonita s.s. - 13
Thaisella - 13
Agnewia - 1
Acanthais - 1
Taurasia - 1
Semiricinula - 2-19(!)
Mancinella s.s. - 4
Thalessa - 9
Morula s.s. - 18
Azumamorula - 1
Oppomorus - 1
Neothais - 3
Habromorula - 15
Drupa s.s. - 5
Ricinella - 4
Drupina - 2
Drupella - 6
Rapaninae subtotal: 129-149

TROPHONINAE


The Trophoninae are a nightmare! The group is badly overnamed, and even the assignment of species to the Trophoninae vs. Buccinidae, which in many cases have a very similar shell morphology, is by no means certain. In fact, it is not even sure that there is such a thing as a subfamily Trophoninae; the group is certainly polyphyletic, and right now is a "wastebasket" for lots of odds-and-ends that do not fit anywhere else. Included in the maximum number are many taxa that are known synonyms, but also many that just "might be" synonyms. So, these numbers represent truly "ball-park" guesses. This is a group that the next generation will have to sort out.

Trophon - 21-45
Xymene s.s. - 13-23
Zeatrophon - 9-16
Xymenopsis - 4-32
Paratrophon - 6
Fuegotrophon - 2-8
Coronium - 4-6
Boreotrophon s.s. - 36-64
Pagodula 7-26
Nodulotrophon - 4-8
Trophonopsis s.s. - 27-57
Apixystus - 8-10
Nipponotrophon - 5
Benthoxystus - 1
Abyssotrophon - 13-21
Leptotrophon - 22
Conchatalos - 4
Ocenotrophon - 1
Scabrotrophon - 8-13
Tromia - 1
Chathamidia - 2
Xenotrophon - 1
Litozamia - 2-4
Anatrophon - 4-5
Minortrophon - 4-5
Comptella s.s. - 3
Afritrophon - 5
Incertae sedis - 4-5
Trophoninae subtotal: 221-399

GRAND TOTAL: Minimum = 1158; Maximum = 1378

Department of Geology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 7011

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