Clams, Snails, and Squid: Phylum Mollusca, Class Gastropoda

Gastropods is the group of molluscs that includes the snails. Many types secrete a single coiled or uncoiled shell for protection, and these shells may be found as fossils. Some species spend their lives crawling along the sea floor, eating algae or debris from rocks and bottom sediments. Others are predatory and feed on other molluscs such as clams and oysters by drilling with a "radula" or rasping tongue.

Most of the Cretaceous gastropod fossils from the Canal are internal casts (steinkerns). They are difficult to identify, and most can only be assigned to a family or genus. Gastropods are abundant in the spoils from the Mount Laurel Formation on both sides of the Canal in the vicinity of Reedy Point.


Unless otherwise noted, photographs and figures are from DGS Special Publication No. 18, by E. M. Lauginiger, 1988.

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