Dentaliidae - Tuskshells

Dentaliidae, the tuskshells, are neither bivalves or gastropods. They belong to a class of mollusks called Scaphopoda. Tuskshells are univalves with shells that are small, long, and tubular, usually slightly curved, resembling a narrow tusk. One end wider than the other end. Both ends are open. The head and foot of the animal reside at the wider end, the aperture. The narrow end, the apex, is used to draw in water and particles and expel wastes and reproductive products (sperm and eggs). Tuskshells are burrowers. The aperture end buries into the substrate leaving the apex end exposed above. They are carnivores and use their radula (a tongue-like structure with teeth) to capture prey in the sediment. They have no eyes, sensory tentacles or gills. Oxygen is absorbed from the water through the mantle (body covering). There are 6 species in Texas waters.