Sea butterflies, scientific name Thecosomata (thecosomes, "case/shell-body"), are a taxonomic suborder of small pelagic swimming sea snails. These are holoplanktonic opisthobranch gastropod mollusks in the informal group Opisthobranchia. They include some of the world's most abundant gastropod species.
Along with its sister group, the Gymnosomata, this group is included in the pteropods. The validity of this clade is not unanimously established; although it had fallen out of favour for a number of years, recent molecular evidence suggests that the taxon should be resurrected. Most Thecosomata have a calcified shell, whereas mature Gymnosomata do not.