Brought together by Winston F. Ponder and David R. Lindberg, experts on the evolution of the Mollusca provide a detailed, comprehensive, and up-to-date review of the evolutionary history of this fascinating group. The Mollusca are the second largest animal phylum and boast a fossil record stretching back over 540 million years. They exhibit remarkable anatomical diversity and include familiar groups such as the bivalves (scallops, oysters, and clams), gastropods (limpets, snails, and slugs), and cephalopods (squid, cuttlefish, and octopus). Molluscs range in body size from tiny worm-like animals to giant squids and occur in almost every habitat found on Earth. They are of great economic and ecological significance, and are also among the organisms most vulnerable to extinction.
The result of an international collaboration of thirty-six scientists from eleven countries, this study treats each major taxon in a similar format and provides general information as well as overviews of evolution and phylogeny using data from different sources - morphological, ultrastructural, molecular, developmental, and the fossil record. The evolutionary overviews and classifications presented here will greatly assist molluscan workers in disciplines as disparate as ecology, physiology, biogeography, medicine, and conservation biology.