Bruised Nassa

Bruised Nassa
Phrontis vibex (Say, 1822)
Family Nassariidae

The Bruised Nassa, Phrontis vibex, is a small snail sometimes found on S. Hutchinson Island beaches.

Three exampls of Bruised Nassa found on S. Hutchinson Island beaches December 2020

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Family Nassariidae
Phrontis vibex
(Say, 1822)
Bruised Nassa

Shell size to 15 mm; size small, stubby, thick-walled, with about five-seven shouldered whorls. Spire moderately elevated. Sculpture of 7-12 axial ribs crossed by cordlets of variable size. Color white or light tan, variably mottled with darker tones. This is a very variable species, common in the back bays and mud flats of SW Florida. Individuals in this species are active scavengers, feeding on decaying bodies of invertebrates, fish, and other marine animals. The first supplementary image shows several Bruised Nassa feeding on a small, dead horseshoe crab at low tide on Bunche Beach, Foer Myers, Florida, in 2014. Bruised Nassa are voracious scavengers, capable of detecting the carcasses of dead marine animals from long distances and moving at relatively high speeds to approach and feed on them. The second supplementary image, a live Bruised Nassa gliding on one of the Museum aquariums, in February 2020. The snail’s eyes are located near the bases of the each tentacle, the siphon is extended to “smell” the ambient water, and the short, orangish snout is probing the glass for morsels of food. The back of the snail’s large foot (on the right) bears a couple of small epipodial tentacles, which apparently have a sensorial function, alerting the snail of approaching predators. all photos by by José H. Leal

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Phrontis vibex
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Phrontis vibex
Nassarius vibex 001.jpg
Two shells of Phrontis vibex (museum specimens at Naturalis Biodiversity Center)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Mollusca
Class:     Gastropoda
Subclass:     Caenogastropoda
Order:     Neogastropoda
Family:     Nassariidae
Genus:     Phrontis
Species:     P. vibex
Binomial name
Phrontis vibex
(Say, 1822)

Phrontis vibex, common name the bruised nassa, is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Nassariidae, the Nassa mud snails or dog whelks.[1]

    1 Description
    2 Distribution
    3 References
    4 External links


The length of the shell varies from 10 mm to 20 mm. The shell is ovate and conical. The spire is composed of six or seven indistinct whorls, subconvex, plaited throughout their whole length, crossed by fine and very close transverse striae. Those of the base are more prominent. The longitudinal folds disappear insensibly upon the right side of the body whorl, at the upper part of which we find merely nodosities. The whitish aperture is rounded. The cavity has a brown color, and is marked by transverse bands. The outer lip is bordered externally, and ornamented internally, with small, fine striae. The columella is arcuated and is covered with a fairly wide callosity, brown at its upper part, and white towards the base, which is adorned with small guttules. The coloring of the shell is olive, with a white or yellowish band. Upon the top of the body whorl, the folds and the tubercles are sometimes whitish.[3]

The distribution of Nassarius vibex is from 41.6°N to 27°S; 97.38°W to 34.9°W, the northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and southwest Atlantic.[1]

This marine species occurs off the following countries:

    USA: Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida: East Florida, West Florida; Louisiana, Texas[1]
    Mexico: Tabasco, Veracruz, Campeche State, Yucatán State, Quintana Roo[1]
    Lesser Antilles[1]
    Costa Rica[1]
    Venezuela: Gulf of Venezuela[1]
    Virgin Islands: St. Croix[1]
    Brazil: Para, Maranhao, Ceara, Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Parana and Santa Catarina.[1]


This article incorprotates CC-BY-SA-3.0 text from the reference[1]

Marshall, B. (2016). Phrontis vibex (Say, 1822). Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at on 2016-05-20
"Malacolog 4.1.1: Western Atlantic Mollusk Species Database at The Academy of Natural Sciences".

    Kiener (1840). General species and iconography of recent shells : comprising the Massena Museum, the collection of Lamarck, the collection of the Museum of Natural History, and the recent discoveries of travellers; Boston :W.D. Ticknor,1837 (described as Buccinum polygonatum)

    Cernohorsky W. O. (1984). Systematics of the family Nassariidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Bulletin of the Auckland Institute and Museum 14: 1–356.
    Rosenberg, G., F. Moretzsohn, and E. F. García. 2009. Gastropoda (Mollusca) of the Gulf of Mexico, Pp. 579–699 in Felder, D.L. and D.K. Camp (eds.), Gulf of Mexico–Origins, Waters, and Biota. Biodiversity. Texas A&M Press, College Station, Texas.

External links
Yokoyama L. Q. & Amaral A. C. Z. (2011). "Temporal variation in egg-capsule deposition by Nassarius vibex (Gastropoda: Nassariidae) Invertebrate Reproduction & Development". Invertebrate Reproduction and Development 55(2): 82–90. doi:10.1080/07924259.2010.548647.
Pollock, L.W. (1998). A practical guide to the marine animals of northeastern North America. Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick, New Jersey & London. 367 pp
"Nassarius (Nassarius) vibex". Retrieved 16 January 2019.

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