The Pleurotomariidae, commonly known as Slit Shells, are an ancient group of mollusks characterized by their long, narrow notch, or slit, and their trochoid shape.
ECOLOGY: With a mainly tropical and subtropical world wide distribution, all of the known species inhabit very deep water beyond the continental shelf, which until recently, has made it difficult to obtain specimens. In years past, most of the specimens were fished up using deep water traps and by trawling. In recent years though, new fishing techniques, technologies including small submersible submarines, and a better understanding of the slit shell habitats have made at least some of the species a bit more accessable. A number of species are still very rare and highly prized by collectors.
TAXONOMY: Four genera are currently recognized; Of the 28 known living species of slit shells, the majority are classified in the genus Perotrochus. The largest known species is Entemnotrochus rumphii. The aura and interest generated by the Pleurotomariids will continue to elevate this group of mollusks to the elete of collectable shells.
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