"Shells large for genus Oliva, elongated, generally fusiform, with straight or slightly convex sides; shells highly polished, glossy; shoulders nonexistent, with body whorls blending directly into spires; spires generally elevated, subpyramidal, with some species having somewhat scalariform spires and others having low, pyramidal spires; edge of suture deeply canaliculate, with thin spiral groove; spire whorls enameled; apertures narrow, becoming wider toward anterior end; columellas well developed, lined with numerous large, tooth-like plications; plicae become larger toward anterior end; shell colors generally white, pale pink, pale blue, or cream-tan, overlaid with variable amounts of large, tan or brown triangular markings arranged in a net-like pattern; two bands of darker triangular markings or amorphous flammules almost always present around midbody; edge of spire suture characteristically marked with large purple-brown or reddish-brown elongated longitudinal flammules, overlaid with thin brown longitudinal hairlines; dark suture flammules separated by evenly spaced white triangular markings along edge of suture channel; protoconchs proportionally large, rounded, bulbous, composed of 2 or 3 whorls.".
Type species by original designation: Oliva sayana Ravenel, 1834.
A genus-group taxon for the mainly tropical West African (Tropical Atlantic realm. Gulf of Guinea province), Caribbean (Tropical Atlantic realm. Tropical Northwestern Atlantic province) and Panamic (Tropical Eastern Pacific realm. Tropical East Pacific province) species formerly included in Strephona Mörch, 1852 (which is a junior homonym).Type species is Oliva sayana Ravenel, 1834.
The genus may be viewed as a large jigsaw puzzle at present. It probably originated rather recently Middle-(Late Miocene?) and the pieces of the puzzle are distributed over four dimensions (longitude, latiutude, bathymetry, time). Species distribution only becomes clear after inverstigation of large series of specimens from various localities. At some localities, two or more species occurr syntopically, whereas at other localities a species may be the only one occurring there.
|Eastern Atlantic species||Tropical Atlantic realm. Gulf of Guinea province (Mauritania to Angola). West African Transition province (Cabo Verde).|
|Western Atlantic species||Temperate Northern Atlantic realm. Warm Temperate Northwest Atlantic province (Southeastern USA). Tropical Atlantic realm. Tropical Northwestern Atlantic province (Entire Caribbean). Temperate South America realm. Warm Temperate Southwestern Atlantic province (Brazil).|
|Eastern Pacific species||Tropical Eastern Pacific realm. Tropical East Pacific province (Northern Sea of Cortez, Mexico to Peru)|