Cerithiidae are found worldwide on sandy bottoms, reef flats or coral reef rock covered with sand and algae in the sublittoral zone of warm or temperate waters.
Most are found in tropical areas. A few occur along the European coastline and about 30 species in two genera are found along the American[ambiguous] coast. A few species occur in estuarine areas of mangrove forests close to the sea. Only a few species of the subfamily Bittiinae are found in deep water.
Ceriths are herbivores and detritivores that graze the sea bed. Their slender shell is elongated with a pointed spire. They vary in size from 3 mm (Bittium alternatum) to 150 mm (Cerithium nodulosum). The smallest shells are found in the subfamily Bittiinae.
The many whorls have radial sculpture with axial ridges and nodules. The aperture shows at its base a vague curve or a distinct siphonal canal. The aperture is closed off by a thin oval brown operculum that is corneous and paucispiral. The palatal wall of the aperture is somewhat enlarged and often shows a varix. The taenioglossan radula has seven teeth in each row. The single rachidian tooth is flanked on each side by one rhomboidal lateral tooth and two long, hook-like marginal teeth.