Diagnosis: Small to fairly large, usually fusiform, shells calcitic (?). Varices absent or 3-10 in number. Most sculpture, when present, is scabrous. Although some species are winged as in some muricine groups, spinose species are rare. Intritacalx usually absent. Nuclear whorls short, often angulate. Siphonal canal usually closed. Inner surface of outer lip often denticulate; a few species with labral tooth. Operculum trapezoidal with lateral nucleus. Radula like that of Muricinae but bearing multiple minor cusps between the major ones.

Remarks: The ocenebrines are known as the oyster drills, a moniker that actually applies to only a few species (and some muricine taxa as well). Nevertheless those few bad eggs cause considerable damage to commercial oyster beds around the world. Sadly, some species have been accidentally introduced outside their native ranges by the farming-out of their prey -- oysters, and have become pests there as well.

While most species are rather small and featureless, some, like members of Ceratostoma and Pteropurpura are spectacular snails. These groups closely resemble members of the muricine genus Pterynotus.

Ocenebrines occur worldwide in all but the coldest seas, usually in shallow water.

The ocenebrines may be more closely related to the rapanines than to the muricines.

Once upon a time, this group was known as the Tritonaliinae.

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