Malaquias, Manuel António Encarnação Natural History Collections, Bergen Museum, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Taxonomy and phylogeny
- Opisthobranch gastropods
- Pulmonate gastropods
- Origin and radiation
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
One of the evolutionary lineages of gastropods (class Gastropoda), comprising a very heterogeneous group of snails with forms that resemble typical marine snails with external spiraled shells such as sundial shells (family Architectonicidae), sea slugs (including the nudibranchs), freshwater snails, and terrestrial garden slugs and snails. Members of the Heterobranchia (Fig. 1), or the heterobranch mollusks (molluscs), form one of the most successful and diverse radiations of the class Gastropoda and even of the phylum Mollusca with regard to species numbers and ecological diversity, and they have developed adaptations to all possible environments in the sea and on land. In terrestrial environments, heterobranchs can be found in tropical forests, caves, deserts, and high mountains. In water environments, they can be found in rivers, streams, estuaries, and oceans, from shallow waters to the deep sea, including vent systems, across all latitudes. See also: Adaptation (biology); Gastropoda; Marine ecology; Mollusca
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