The excellent preservation of the molluscan fauna from the Gosport Sand (Eocene) at Little Stave Creek, Alabama, has made it possible to describe the preserved color patterns of 15 species. In this study the functional significance of these color patterns is tested in the context of the current adaptationist controversy. The pigment of the color pattern is thought to be a result of metabolic waste disposal. Therefore, the presence of the pigment is functional, although the patterns formed by the pigment may or may not have been adaptive. In this investigation the criteria proposed by Seilacher (1972) for testing the functionality of color patterns were applied to the Gosport fauna and the results compared with life mode as interpreted from knowledge of extant relatives and functional morphology. Using Seilacher's criteria of little ontogenetic and intraspecific variability, the color patterns appear to have been functional. However, the functional morphology studies indicate an infaunal life mode which would preclude functional color patterns. Particular color patterns are instead interpreted to be the result of historical factors, such as multiple adaptive peaks or random fixation of alleles, or of architectural constraints including possibly pleiotropy or allometry. The low variability of color patterns, which was noted within species and genera, suggests that color patterns may also serve a useful taxonomic purpose.