Palaeoecological studies of drilling intensity (DI), drawing ecological and evolutionary inferences, generally assume that drilled and undrilled specimens are equally preserved in the fossil record, because of the fact that the presence of drillholes does not affect preservation potential during sediment compaction. However, another facet that has not been studied conclusively is the taphonomic imprint on DI in a pre-burial scenario. If drillholes add weakness to a shell’s mechanical strength, drilled valves may preferentially be broken during post-mortem transportation, before its’ burial within sediment. In the present study, we test this hypothesis with a dataset involving DI and taphonomic status of two bivalve, Donax scortum and Mactra luzonica and two gastropod, Natica tigrina and Turricula javana species from Chandipur, India. Taphonomic status of each specimen is determined by relative preservation of its’ morphological characters. In case of both bivalves and gastropods, DI is found to be highest among the best preserved specimen and, thereafter, declines with increasing taphonomic degradation. When shell size is included in analyses, DI still shows an inverse relation with taphonomic alteration. This observed inverse relationship between drilling intensity and taphonomic imprint suggest that drilled shells may be vulnerable to breakage by pre-burial taphonomic processes. © 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.