Fossil Snail Sea Shell Turritella.jpg
Fossil Snail Sea Shell Turritella plebia
St. Mary's formation, in the Calvert Cliffs, of Calvert County, Maryland
Miocene Period, 23 million years ago
Turritella is a genus of medium-sized sea snails with an operculum, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Turritellidae. They have tightly coiled shells, whose overall shape is basically that of an elongated cone. The name Turritella comes from the Latin word turritus meaning "turreted" or "towered" and the diminutive suffix -ella. The Gastropoda or gastropods, more commonly known as snails and slugs, are a large taxonomic class within the phylum Mollusca. The class Gastropoda includes snails and slugs of all kinds and all sizes from microscopic to Achatina achatina, the largest known land gastropod. There are many thousands of species of sea snails and sea slugs, as well as freshwater snails, freshwater limpets, land snails and land slugs. The class Gastropoda contains a vast total of named species, second only to the insects in overall number. The fossil history of this class goes back to the Late Cambrian. There are 611 families of gastropods known, of which 202 are extinct and appear only in the fossil record.