Abstract

With probably around 200,000 extant species, Mollusca is the second-most speciose phylum after Hexapoda. However, what makes mollusks particularly interesting from an evolutionary perspective is not their richness in species as such, but rather the huge variety of body plan phenotypes exhibited by its representatives. These include cylindrical, shell-less, spicule-bearing, wormlike, crawling, and burrowing creatures (Neomeniomorpha or Solenogastres and Chaetodermomorpha or Caudofoveata), eight-shelled grazers (Polyplacophora or chitons), two-valved filter feeders (Bivalvia such as mussels and clams) as well as the single-shelled Monoplacophora (Tryblidia), Gastropoda (snails, slugs), Scaphopoda (tusk shells), and Cephalopoda (octopuses, squids, nautiluses) (Fig. 7.1; for a comprehensive recent account on various aspects on molluskan phylogeny and evolution, see Ponder and Lindberg 2008).

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Integrative ZoologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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