The odontophore is part of the feeding mechanism in molluscs. It is the cartilage which underlies and supports the radula, a ribbon of teeth.[1] The radula is found in every class of molluscs except for the bivalves.[2]

The feeding apparatus can be extended from the mouth of the animal, and the radular ribbon can slide over the odontophore. By moving the radula and odontophore over a surface, the teeth cut and scoop up food particles and convey them into the mouth, whence they enter the oesophagus.

The diagrams here show the feeding apparatus of a generalized gastropod. The details shown do not necessarily apply to predatory species such as the cone snails, which have a highly specialized feeding mechanism.


  1. Gerlach, J.; Van Bruggen, A.C. (1998). "A first record of a terrestrial mollusc without a radula". Journal of Molluscan Studies. 64 (2): 249–250. doi:10.1093/mollus/64.2.249.
  2. Harold Leonard Levin (1999). Ancient invertebrates and their living relatives. Prentice Hill. p. 204. ISBN 9780137489558.
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