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What does this page offer?

  • Read about the basic facts on mollusks
  • Access some of the free short courses on mollusks
  • Join OZT as a member to learn even more about how to work with mollusks while meeting people from around the world!

You have chosen a career to follow and prepare for; now it’s time to learn more about the species you will work with.

  • Read about the basic facts on mollusks
  • Join the Mollusks Group to learn how to work with them and meet people from around the world
  • Access all of the free short courses on mollusks
  • Connect with tertiary institutions and organisations that work with mollusks

Basic Facts on Mollusks

Mollusks have a soft unsegmented body and live in Aquatic or damp habitats, and most kinds have an external calcareous shell.

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Scientific name:


Common use names:

The Mollusks include: Snails, Slugs, Limpets, Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Octopuses, Nautiluses, Squids, Tusk Shells, and Chitons.

There is no gender specific names, as they are either male of female, and young mollusks are called larvae.

The word “mollusk” in other languages:

  • Dutch: weekdier
  • French: mollusque
  • Spanish: molusco
  • Turkish: yumuşakça

Awesome fact:

Mollusks have a ribbon-like tongue called the radula, which is covered in tiny teeth.

Important Dates:

500 million years ago: Fossil evidence dates the origin of mollusks back to the Middle Cambrian.

Mollusk Stats

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Average Length

up to 10 meters (33 feet) The smallest snail is from Vietnam and has a shell just 0.48 millimetres high!

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Average Weight

up to 500 kg (1,100 lb). The colossal squid, which lives in the southern oceans, is the heaviest of the mollusks


Average Lifespan

A few years average between all the species, but the oldest mollusk is a bivalve, the ocean quahog (Arctica islandica), native to the northern Atlantic and known to live at least 500 years


Average Offspring

up to a few 100 thousand eggs


Swimming Speed

40 km/h (25 mph)

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Active Time

Day and Night

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Main Diet


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Distribution & Habitat

Most countries and seas - freshwater rivers, lakes, caves, oceans

Global Population

Estimated Global Population

Not determined het

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Conservation Status

Least Concerned to Near Extinct

The scientific classification of mollusks

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Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: 8

Order: 97


Genus: 13,000

Species: 85,000

Do you have facts to contribute to this page? Please click on the red beetle to access the contribution form.

Free Short Courses on Mollusks

The Top 3 Skills required to work with Mollusks

Working with mollusks, which are a diverse group of animals including snails, clams, and squid, can require a range of skills depending on the specific field and job. However, here are some general skills that can be useful when working with mollusks:

  • Knowledge of mollusk biology: A basic understanding of mollusk anatomy, physiology, and life cycles is important to effectively work with these animals.
  • Data collection and analysis: Many jobs involving mollusks require collecting and analyzing data, such as measuring the size and weight of individuals, tracking population trends, or assessing the impact of environmental changes on the animals.
  • Fieldwork skills: In many cases, working with mollusks involves fieldwork, such as collecting samples, surveying populations, or monitoring behavior in their natural habitats. Skills such as boat handling, SCUBA diving, and GPS navigation may be necessary.

The Top 3 Tools used when working with Mollusks

The tools used when working with mollusks can vary depending on the specific job and field, but here are some common tools that are often used:

  • Nets and traps: Nets and traps are used to catch mollusks for study or collection. Different types of nets and traps are used depending on the size and behavior of the target species.
  • GPS and mapping tools: GPS and mapping tools are used to locate and record the location of mollusk populations and habitats, which can be important for conservation and management.
  • Scuba diving and snorkelling equipment: Scuba diving and snorkelling equipment is often used in fieldwork to study mollusks in their natural habitats, especially in marine environments.
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Join the Mollusks Group

Learn even more about the species by joining the MOLLUSKS GROUP

Members of the Group can access all the different Short Courses, win awards and meet other mollusks lovers from around the world. Gain experience points with each short course and compete for the top spot on the leader board!

Topics covered in the MOLLUSKS GROUP:

  • General mollusk knowledge (Anatomy, Habitat, Behaviour, Diet)
  • Ecological Benefits & Conservation
  • Creative (Including education, art, design, publishing, media, news and photography)
  • ​Species (courses on over 100 different species)

Interact with all of the relevant tertiary institutions that feature courses related to mollusks, as well as animal organisations that work with the species.

If you are not a member yet, then register for FREE!

Career profiles and resources

How many career profiles are there on OZT where you can work with mollusks?

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Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached form:

Contribution Form

List of Species Educators who have contributed to the info:

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A few excellent pictures as examples of the species:

Links to some of the best websites:

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