Apex (mollusc)

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In anatomy, an apex (adjectival form: apical) is part of the shell of a mollusk. The apex is the pointed tip (the oldest part) of the shell of a gastropod, scaphopod, or cephalopod.

Mollusc shell exoskeleton of an animal in the phylum Mollusca

The molluscshell is typically a calcareous exoskeleton which encloses, supports and protects the soft parts of an animal in the phylum Mollusca, which includes snails, clams, tusk shells, and several other classes. Not all shelled molluscs live in the sea; many live on the land and in freshwater.

Cephalopod class of molluscs

A cephalopod is any member of the molluscan class Cephalopoda such as a squid, octopus or nautilus. These exclusively marine animals are characterized by bilateral body symmetry, a prominent head, and a set of arms or tentacles modified from the primitive molluscan foot. Fishermen sometimes call them inkfish, referring to their common ability to squirt ink. The study of cephalopods is a branch of malacology known as teuthology.

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The apex is used in end-blown conches.

Gastropods

The word "apex" is most often used to mean the tip of the spire of the shell of a gastropod. The apex is the first-formed, and therefore the oldest, part of the shell.

Spire (mollusc)

A spire is a part of the coiled shell of molluscs. The spire consists of all of the whorls except for the body whorl. Each spire whorl represents a rotation of 360°. A spire is part of the shell of a snail, a gastropod mollusc, a gastropod shell, and also the whorls of the shell in ammonites, which are fossil shelled cephalopods.

To be more precise, the apex would usually be where the tip of the embryonic shell or protoconch is situated, if that is still present in the adult shell (often it is lost or eroded away).

Embryo multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development

An embryo is an early stage of development of a multicellular diploid eukaryotic organism. In general, in organisms that reproduce sexually, an embryo develops from a zygote, the single cell resulting from the fertilization of the female egg cell by the male sperm cell. The zygote possesses half the DNA from each of its two parents. In plants, animals, and some protists, the zygote will begin to divide by mitosis to produce a multicellular organism. The result of this process is an embryo.

Protoconch

A protoconch is an embryonic or larval shell which occurs in some classes of molluscs, e.g., the initial chamber of an ammonite or the larval shell of a gastropod. In older texts it is also called "nucleus". The protoconch may sometimes consist of several whorls, but when this is the case, the whorls show no growth lines.

Coiled gastropod shells

The phrase apical whorls, or protoconch, means the whorls that constitute the embryonic shell at the apex of the shell, especially when this is clearly distinguishable from the later whorls of the shell, otherwise known as the teleoconch.

Comparison of the apical part and the whole shell of Otukaia kiheiziebisu :

<i>Otukaia kiheiziebisu</i> species of mollusc

Otukaia kiheiziebisu is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Calliostomatidae.

Limpet-like gastropod shells

Where this feature is present, the space under the apex of a patellate or patelliform (limpet-like) gastropod shell is called the apical cavity.

Patellidae family of molluscs

Patellidae is a taxonomic family of sea snails or true limpets, marine gastropod molluscs in the clade Patellogastropoda.

Scaphopods

The apex of tusk shells is the small, open posterior end, and the opening itself is usually called the apical aperture.

Cephalopods

In orthocone cephalopods, the pointed end of the shell is called the apex, and shell growth is away from the apex and toward the aperture. The first chamber of the apex is sometimes called the protoconch.

Bivalves

The apex of a valve of a bivalve shell is the area around what is most commonly the umbo or beak. In some species the embryonic shell or prodissoconch may be present at the apex of each of the two valves.

Related Research Articles

Aperture (mollusc) The main opening of the shell, where the head-foot part of the body of the animal emerges

The aperture is an opening in certain kinds of mollusc shells: it is the main opening of the shell, where the head-foot part of the body of the animal emerges for locomotion, feeding, etc.

Body whorl

The body whorl is part of the morphology of the shell in those gastropod mollusks that possess a coiled shell. The term is also sometimes used in a similar way to describe the shell of a cephalopod mollusk.

Whorl (mollusc)

A whorl is a single, complete 360° revolution or turn in the spiral growth of a mollusc shell. A spiral configuration of the shell is found in of numerous gastropods, but it is also found in shelled cephalopods including Nautilus, Spirula and the large extinct subclass of cephalopods known as the ammonites.

Operculum (gastropod) A hard structure which closes the aperture of a gastropod when the animal retreats into the shell

The operculum, meaning little lid, is a corneous or calcareous anatomical structure like a trapdoor which exists in many groups of sea snails and freshwater snails, and also in a few groups of land snails; the structure is found in some marine and freshwater gastropods, and in a minority of terrestrial gastropods, including the families Helicinidae, Cyclophoridae, Aciculidae, Maizaniidae, Pomatiidae, etc.

Gastropod shell part of the body of a gastropod or snail

The gastropod shell is part of the body of a gastropod or snail, a kind of mollusc. The shell is an exoskeleton, which protects from predators, mechanical damage, and dehydration, but also serves for muscle attachment and calcium storage. Some gastropods appear shell-less (slugs) but may have a remnant within the mantle, or the shell is reduced such that the body cannot be retracted within (semi-slug). Some snails also possess an operculum that seals the opening of the shell, known as the aperture, which provides further protection. The study of mollusc shells is known as conchology. The biological study of gastropods, and other molluscs in general, is malacology. Shell morphology terms vary by species group. An excellent source for terminology of the gastropod shell is "How to Know the Eastern Land Snails" by John B. Burch now freely available at the Hathi Trust Digital Library.

In anatomy, a suture is a fairly rigid joint between two or more hard elements of an organism, with or without significant overlap of the elements.

Columella (gastropod)

The columella or pillar is a central anatomical feature of a coiled snail shell, a gastropod shell. The columella is often only clearly visible as a structure when the shell is broken, sliced in half vertically, or viewed as an X-ray image.

The following is a glossary of common English language and scientific terms used in the description of gastropods.

<i>Curtitoma incisula</i> species of mollusc

Curtitoma incisula is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Mangeliidae.

<i>Kurtziella acanthodes</i> species of mollusc

Kurtziella acanthodes is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Mangeliidae.

<i>Kurtziella corallina</i> species of mollusc

Kurtziella corallina is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Mangeliidae.

Fenimorea marmarina is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Drilliidae.

<i>Spirotropis lithocolleta</i> species of mollusc

Spirotropis lithocolleta is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Drilliidae.

<i>Spirotropis phaeacra</i> species of mollusc

Spirotropis phaeacra is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Drilliidae.

<i>Spirotropis stirophora</i> species of mollusc

Spirotropis stirophora is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Drilliidae.

Mohnia carolinensis is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Buccinidae, the true whelks.

Prodissoconch

A prodissoconch is an embryonic or larval shell which is present in the larva of a bivalve mollusk. The prodissoconch is often but not always smooth, and has no growth lines. It is sometimes still present and visible in the adult shell, if there has been no erosion of the shell in that area.

<i>Azorilla lottae</i> species of mollusc

Azorilla lottae is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Raphitomidae.

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