Study of the oldest macluritid gastropod, Macluritella stantoniKirk, 1927 from the Lower Ordovician of Colorado, has revealed that its early whorls are openly and dextrally coiled, in contrast to those in later teleoconchs which are sinistrally coiled. This is the first documentation of heterostrophic coiling in members of the Macluritoidea, which have been considered to be dextrally hyperstrophic. Juvenile M. stantoni may be interpreted as dextrally orthostrophic and, thus, it had the same type of soft-body-shell arrangement as the vast majority of living and fossil gastropods. This intepretation also suggests that the Macluritoidea evolved from the dextrally orthostrophic gastropods, and their dextral hyperstrophy is derived and not a primary feature. In addition, occurrence of shell heterostrophy in M. stantoni brings additional evidence that the Macluritoidea and Onychochiloidea are not closely related taxa. Relationships between the Macluritoidea and Euomphaloidea are still uncertain. This study provides the oldest evidence (Early Ordovician) for shell heterostrophy in the class Gastropoda.

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