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| Last Updated:: 30/09/2016


Molluscs (Kingdom: Animalia; Phylum: Mollusca) constitute the largest animal taxa next to insects. There are four main groups of molluscs having a total of over 100,000 species. Approximately three quarters of molluscs are found in the marine environment. Currently, molluscs are represented by eight groups such as Bivalvia, Gastropoda, Cephalopoda, Polyplacophora, Scaphopoda, Aplacophora, Monoplacophora and Caudofoveatans. Molluscs with their innumerable numbers constitute an important component of biomass. They are the first living creatures to have hard shells. The association of man and molluscs date back to prehistoric times as the earlier man was attracted to these shells. They are mostly benthic in nature. Though molluscs are primarily inhabitants of the intertidal and littoral zones of the oceans, they can also be found at greater depths. The diversity of molluscs in India is high. They got adapted to the rocky intertidal zones along the coasts besides the coral reef ecosystems of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Gulf of Kachchh and Gulf of Mannar. Sandy coasts support less diversity and mostly burrowing forms are found here. The molluscs show wide variations in size (i.e. from 0.75m to 24m).