Tusk shells

Phylum Mollusca Class Scaphopoda Number of families 14

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Single-shelled tusk-shaped mollusks, ranging from about an eighth of an inch (a few mm) to 7.8 in (20 cm) in length. Burrow into exclusively marine sediments with a muscular foot; feed on microorganisms with thin tentacular captacula (threadlike cilia-bearing organs).

Photo: Three species of scaphopod mollusks. The dark colored specimen is Dentalium priseum, found in Carboniferous strata of Scotland. At center are specimens of D. sexangulare, from Miocene rocks in Tuscany, Italy. The tusklike shells, right, are of D. striatum from Eucene rocks in Hampshire, United Kingdom. (Photo by Biophoto Associates/ Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

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