The acteonids possess an external shell that is thick and sturdy with a prominent and elevated spire. The shell has numerous spiral sculptures that range from weak to strongly grooved.
The aperture is narrow and the columellar sinuous with one or more strong folds. The shell of some acteonids is strikingly coloured and patterned. The animal can be completely accommodated within the shell which can usually be closed by an operculum.
The head shield is notched anteriorly and divided posteriorly into two large lobes that extend back over the neck and anterior portion of the shell.
The eyes may be visible at the medial base of the posterior lobes.
The foot is broad, usually shorter than the shell having anterior corners that may be angular or tentacular but there are no parapodia.
The gill is not visible externally.
They live infaunally just beneath the surface of the substrate. Their diet consists of polychaete worms.