Buccinids range from about 1-30 cm in length. Buccinid shells are spindle shaped (fusiform) spirals, generally smooth, and have a large oval opening (aperture), often protected by an operculum. Because the operculum is made of protein it is typically yellow, brown or black in color (rather than white, as are calcified opercula in other families). Another distinguishing characteristic of the shell is a well-defined siphonal canal through with the animal protrudes the siphon – a tube made from the mantle wall for drawing in oxygenated water into the mantle cavity. Buccinid shells can be quite colorful, and sought after by collectors.
(Kozloff 1990; Brusca and Brusca 2003)
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