Clathrofenella ferruginea
(Adams, 1860)

Relevant Synonyms
Dunkeria fusca A. Adams, 1860
Clathrofenella fusca (A. Adams, 1860)

Clathrofenella reticulata (A. Adams, 1860) [Barash and Danin, 1977]
Fenella cerithina [Moazzo, 1939)
Clathrofenella cerithina (Philippi, 1849) [Bosch et al., 1995]

 photo: S. Gofas / Coll. B. Galil    

Shell small, high spired, about four times as long as wide, of 8-9 whorls. Protoconch tiny, of two and a half smooth whorls. Teleoconch with a sculpture of two high spiral cords, narrower than the interspaces and clustered together; separated from the suture by a sloping surface; on the later whorls a third cord may appear on that subsutural surface; axial folds determine acute knobs at their intersection with the spirals and form with these a characteristic clathrate sculpture. Aperture pyriform, not thickened, with outer lip joining anteriorly the columella with a quite regular curve, not forming a siphonal canal.

color : brown on the early whorls grading to pale whitish on the body whorl, with the columella usually tinged with brown; some specimens entirely brown.

common size : 3 x 0.9 to 4 x 1.1 mm.

This species could easily be confused with the native Bittium submamillatum (de Rayneval and Ponzi, 1851). C. ferruginea will be distinguished in being less solid, in having only two spirals instead of four on the mid-spire whorls, and in that the spirals on later whorls are more raised and narrower than the interspaces (broader in Bittium). There is much taxonomic uncertainty as to the relationships of small related Indo-Pacific cerithids, the revision of which is out of the scope of the Atlas. C. cerithina (Philippi, 1849) differs in having four spiral cords instead of two on spire whorls; the name used here was suggested by Dr van Aartsen upon examination of the relevant type material.

Larvae are planktotrophic, ensuring long-distance dispersal.

habitat : on soft bottoms, sandy or muddy, in 5-30 m.

1st Mediterranean record
Haifa, Israel, 1977 [1970].

Worldwide: Indo-Pacific, including Red Sea and Persian Gulf, and eastwards to Japan (type locality of C. fusca), with taxanomic uncertainties. Common in Great Bitter Lake (Moazzo, 1939). Mediterranean: recorded first in 1970 from Israel, Haifa, as Clathrofenella reticulata (Barash and Danin, 1977); successively from southeast coast of Turkey, Mersina to Tasuçu, as Clathrofenella fusca (Engl, 1995) and Cyprus, as C. fusca (Cecalupo and Quadri, 1995).

Locally common.

speculated reasons for success :

Via the Suez Canal.



  • Barash A. and Danin Z., 1977. Additions to the knowledge of Indo-Pacific Mollusca in the Mediterranean. Conchiglie, 13(5-6): 85-116.
  • Cecalupo A. and Quadri P., 1995. Contributo alla conoscenza malacologica per il nord dell' isola di Cipro (parte II). Bollettino Malacologico, 30(10-12): 269-276.
  • Habe T., 1977. Six species of Japanese shells described by A. Adams. Venus, 36(3), 157-159.


  • Mienis H.K., 1987. Further records of an Indo-Pacific Clathrofenella from the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Levantina, 67: 712.
  • Moazzo P.G., 1939. Mollusques testacés marins du Canal de Suez. Mémoires de l'Institut d'Egypte, 38: 1-283, pl. 1-14 + frontispice, maps 1-4 [C. cerithina p. 189].


Last update : January 2005

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