Key:  Family Nassariidae

Phylum Mollusca
 Class Gastropoda
  Subclass Prosobranchia
   Order Neogastropoda
    Suborder Rachiglossa

Taken primarily from  Kozloff, 1987, 1996 p.227  (Copyright 1987, 1996, University of Washington Press.  Used in this web page by permission of University of Washington Press)
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Lower taxonomic level Main Page Alphabetic Index Systematic Index Glossary
1a  Without a pronounced groove separating most of the body whorl from its lower portion (up to about 3 cm high; usually blackish brown; common in some muddy bays to which it has been introduced from the Atlantic coast) Ilyanassa obsoleta
1b With a pronounced groove separating most of the body whorl from its lower portion 2
2a Axial ribs priminent, but spiral ridges evident only on the body whorl (there are about 3 or 4 of them just above the groove) (up to about 1.5 cm high; introduced into a few bays in the Puget Sound region) Nassarius fraterculus
2b Spiral ridges prominent on most whorls 3
3a Inner lip of aperture with a broad, usually orange callus that spreads out over the body whorl, well above the termination of the outer lip; axial ribs (which may or may not be prominent) not reaching the groove near the base of the body whorl; height up to 4.5 cm Nassarius fossatus
3b Inner lip of the aperture without a large orange callus (if the callus spreads out over the body whorl, it does not go higher than the termination of the outer lip); axial ribs reaching the groove near the base of the body whorl; height rarely exceeding 3 cm 4
4a Axial ribs (of which there are more than 20) about equal to the spiral ridges, the two intersecting in such a way as to form nearly evenly spaced beads [the beads may not be visible without magnification] 5
4b Axial ribs (of which there are about 12) much more pronounced and more widely spaced than the spiral ridges (the two do not intersect in such a way that they form nearly evenly spaced beads) Nassarius mendicus
5a Axial ribs generally not prominent, but the beads formed where they intersect with the spiral ridges are obvious without magnification; spiral ridges on body whorl all about the same size (there is no regular alternation of large and small ridges); height to about 3 cm (not likely to be found north of Oregon) Nassarius rhinites
5b Axial ribs and spiral ridges about equally prominent, intersecting to form a cancellate pattern, but beading is not evident without magnification; spiral ridges on body whorl not all of the same size (larger ribs alternate with smaller ones); height to about 2 cm Nassarius perpinguis



Taxonomic Levels Represented in This Key:

  Nassarius fossatus



Page created by Dave Cowles, 2006
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