A superfamily of comparatively large to small neogastropods. All species are scavengers or predators, occurring from tidal environments to great depths.
The earliest records of the superfamily date back to the Late Cretaceous.
After the recent study by Kantor et al. (2017), the Olivoidea are nowadays considered to contain five families, the Olividae, the Ancillariidae, the Benthobiidae, the Bellolividae and the Pseudolividae. The former family Olivellidae is now considered to be a subfamily of the Olividae (Olivellinae). The main shell characters and present day distribution are summarised below:
Families in the Olivoidea (characters after Kantor et. al., 2017)
Operculum present. Periostracum absent. Primary spire callus absent. Narrow filament channel present, opened on all spire whorls.
Western Indo-Pacific realm. Central Indo-Pacific realm. Eastern Indo-Pacific realm. Tropical Atlantic realm (Tropical Northwestern Atlantic province). From shallow subtidal to lower slope depths.
Operculum present. Periostracum absent. Primary spire callus well defined. Suture always overlaid by the callus.
Circum-tropical and warm-temperate waters but favouring regions with upwelling, nutrient-rich, colder water. Seemingly lacking in the Tropical Eastern Pacific realm. Micrancilla Maxwell, 1992, between the Falklands and South Georgia (Temperate South America realm, Cold-temperate Magellanic province). From tidal to abyssal depths.