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Body size is an important trait with implications for energy use and ecology as well as generation time and evolutionary rates. Turritelline gastropods are widely distributed through geologic time and space, making them an excellent group for evaluating macroevolutionary patterns. To evaluate the pattern of body-size change in turritelline gastropods, we compiled a dataset of shell lengths of 316 species of turritelline gastropods spanning the Jurassic to Recent. Type specimens were almost always significantly larger than specimen distributions from the same species. We found that turritelline gastropod size was inversely correlated with latitude, a trend likely driven by the Neogene-Recent diversification of small-bodied Southern Hemisphere taxa. A time series model was applied to distinguish among three possible macroevolutionary patterns: unbiased random walk (no directional trend), biased random walk (directional trend), and stasis (no net change). We determined that turritelline gastropods have experienced stasis in body size throughout their evolutionary history, adding to the growing literature documenting directionless body-size trends in marine invertebrate clades. Stasis of geographically widespread clades may be the result of ecological variability across the environmental range occupied by the group or differential diversification into opposing environments. Turritelline life-history patterns, especially their reproductive strategy that combines a short life span and decline in growth rate around 1 year of age to reallocate energy to reproduction, might circumvent selection for longevity and larger size, while further decrease in minimum size is likely limited by feeding efficiency and anti-predatory defense. The expectation that species or clades should continue to evolve to occupy larger size classes conflicts with the evolutionary advantages of small size, which in turritelline gastropods include high generational turnover and larger population sizes that yield opportunities for genetic variance.

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National Science Foundation

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.