Cyphoma gibbosum with feeding track on a gorgonian

The Eischnecken ( Ovulidae ) are a family of marine snails exclusively. They are all grazers, which graze mainly cnidarians. First representatives of Ovuliden appear in the fossil record already in deposits of the chalk.


The housings are right wound and convolute, that is, the last applied turn encompasses the previous turn almost completely. The mouth is usually narrow and long, and extends over the entire enclosure height. In a few forms it can also be widened ear shaped. Very often the top and bottom are greatly extended by so-called Siphonalrinnen. The housing may be spindle-shaped in these molds. Otherwise, spherical and ovoid body are known. The shell is usually smooth and shiny. The walk is moderate in size with a likewise only moderately large Propodium. The coat is often colored and bears the color pattern of the housing. The visceral sac is relatively short. The head has a snout and the radula is relatively long. The eyes are set on thickening of the sensor. The representatives of the family are dioecious, with very few exceptions. An operculum is not present, but has been included in the Frühontogenese and later reduced again. The ontogenetic development is via a plankton -feeding veliger larva.

Way of life

The Ovulidae are typical inhabitants of tropical and subtropical waters. Only a few species still occur outside this range. They live on coastal areas to the deep sea; however, most species live in the through -exposed shallow areas. The animals are grazers and always associated with cnidarians. They graze the polyps of Cnidaria.


The family is subdivided according to Bouchet & Rocroi (2005) into five subfamilies: Ovulinae Fleming, 1822 † Cypraediinae signs, 1927, Jenneriinae Thiele, 1929, Pediculariinae Gray, 1853 Pseudocypraeinae Steadman & Cotton, 1943 This subdivision is of Fehse (2007. ) rejected. He suggests a subdivision into four subfamilies ago:

  • Ovulinae Fleming, 1822
  • Prionovolvinae Fehse, 2007
  • Aclyvolvinae Fehse, 2007
  • Simniinae signs, 1925

The Peduculariinae be interpreted as a separate family; Jenneria and Pseudocypraea be included.