New Tentacle issue available

Tentacle issue 26 is available now via this link. As always a very interesting overview of short papers and notes related to the conservation of molluscs.

The issue starts with an In Memoriam for Tony Whitten (1953-2017) who, although mainly involved with conservation in Asia, has been of importance for stimulating malacologists for conservation issues. This is best illustrated by a quote from 2001 which was added by the editor: “I would venture to suggest that the majority of malacologists need to poke their heads out from the security of their shells and slither rapidly to be heard and become involved in the issues that threaten the organisms on which their careers are based. This does not mean that this topic take over your own particular speciality and distract your research programme, but it does recognize that you have a profound responsibility to do something [my italics]. The actual and potential threats to many mollusc species, and the trends, can’t get much worse”.

Related to the Neotropics, the following notes are included:

1. Espinosa, A. Measures to control Lissachatina fulica: impact on native terrestrial molluscs in the Dominican Republic.
This papers tells the story how an area of secondary forest, where in August 2017 nine endemic species were found, plus the achatinid, was a few months later completely ‘treated’ with molluscicides and deforestation.

2. Santos, S.B. dos & Miyahira, I.G. Evaluation of the list of endangered non-marine molluscs in Brasil in progress.

3. Agudo-Padron, I. Conservation of non-marine molluscs in Central Southern Brasil: revised and updated inventory of species of Santa Catarina State.

4. Salvador, R.B. et al. Presumed extinct land snail Megalobulimus cardosoi found again in Pedra Talhada Biological Reserve, north-east Brasil.


New Hispaniolan Annulariids

Already some months ago, Thomas Watters published a new revision dealing with Hispaniolan annulariids (Watters & Larson, 2017).

The annulariid genera Chondropomella, Chondropomium, and Clydonopoma are believed to have originated from the Tiburon/Barahona Peninsula in isolation from the rest of Hispaniola. Chondropomium has colonized the rift valley and adjacent river valleys between the Tiburon Peninsula and the remainder of Hispaniola. It is primarily limited to xeric lowlands, rarely found above 200 m elevation. Little is known about the rare Chondropomella but they seem to occur in the rift valley in xeric areas as well. In contrast, Clydonopoma is endemic to the Sierra Baoruco with a single species in the adjacent eastern Massif de la Selle and occupies the upland mesic forests and pine savannahs between 200–4000 m. The most widely distributed species, Chondropomium weinlandi, has been the subject of considerable confusion concerning the nature of its many color forms or subspecies, as well as its valid name. This species was investigated using phylogenetic methods and compared to congeners and related genera. A phylogenetic study aimed at elucidating relationships among these taxa analyzed a partitioned matrix of nuclear (ITS 1) and mitochondrial (CO1, 12S, 16S) DNA sequences in a Maximum-likelihood framework under the GTR+G substitution model. Contrary to Bartsch’s 1946 assessment that C. weinlandi is a complex of subspecies, it is here shown to be a single, highly polymorphic species for color. The new genus Superbipoma is recognized based on phylogenetic, radular, and conchological evidence. It contains two species: S. asymmetricum (Henderson and Simpson, 1902) and S. superbum (Pilsbry, 1933). Eleven species of Chondropomium are recognized including two new species: C. caelicum and C. sardonyx; three species of Chondropomella and nine species of Clydonopoma, including one new species, Clydonopoma titanum, are recognized. A calcified operculum is the ancestral condition for the Annulariidae. In Clydonopoma and Chondropomella the operculum is a particularly complex calcified structure termed the pseudolamella. This structure has been lost in Chondropomium and Superbipoma”.

As usual, this paper is very thorough, well organised and includes a phylogenetic study based on a multi-locus analysis.

Watters, G.T. & Larson, P., 2017. A revision of the Hispaniolan genera Chondropomella, Chondropomium, and Clydonopoma (Gastropoda: Annulariidae), with the recognition of a new genus, Superbipoma: phylogenetic, radular, and conchological evidence. – Nautilus, 131 (3):163-201.

Gastropods on Rio de Janeiro campus

Alexandre et al. recently published on species they found on one of the campus of Rio de Janeiro’s university. The abstract reads “Gastropoda is the most diverse group of Mollusca. However, many gaps still exist in the knowledge of this group, for example, for terrestrial and freshwater gastropods. Thus, this work presents a mollusk survey of the Urca campus of the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, which is bordered by Parque Natural Municipal da Paisagem Carioca and is within the buffer zone of Monumento Natural dos Morros do Pão de Açúcar e da Urca. Eleven collecting sites were chosen and the mollusks were collected directly. A total of 1,829 specimens, distributed in 18 species and 12 families, were found. Considering the number of native species and the first record of one species for Rio de Janeiro State, the present study shows the importance of protected urban areas in the conservation of fauna”.

The paper itself is in Portuguese.

Alexandre, G. de L., et al., 2017. Gastropods (Mollusca) present on the Urca campus of the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO). – Biotemas, 30 (4): 31-40. (Link)

New edition of ‘2400 years’

Eugene Coan and Alan Kabat have recently published an update of their index to biographical and bibliographical works on malacologists. The main text has been updated with new information, as well as Annex 1 (collations of books); the other two annexes have not changed.

The download page may be here:

Peruvian Andinia

Valentín Mogollón recently collected an Andinia species in Dept. Cajamarca, Chota Province. He identified it as Andinia taczanowski (Lubomirski, 1879). As you can see on the first photo, most specimens are decollated but some have retained their first whorls.

Always nice to see those pretty clausiliids…

MolluscaBase workshop (2)

Just popping in, the official ‘press release’ about last week’s workshop in Ostend:

Expanding MolluscaBase – welcoming freshwater and terrestrial editors during a WoRMS-LifeWatch workshop


In the week of 5-9 February, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) – host of Aphia, the online platform behind WoRMS and its many subregisters – welcomed Mollusca-experts for 4 days, to expand the content of MolluscaBase with their freshwater and terrestrial representatives and to document species traits.

Eleven taxonomic experts joined the Data Management Team in Oostende, to learn how to use the online editing platform so they can add the freshwater and terrestrial counterparts to the already ongoing initiative of MolluscaBase, which had until recently had a focus on documenting its marine representatives. In 2017, the terrestrial Mollusca part of Fauna Europaea and the bivalves parts of InvertEBase (Authority files of U.S. and Canadian land and freshwater mollusks) were added to MolluscaBase as well as a master list of the genus-group names of land snails of the world, creating the backbone and nucleus of the non-marine part of the database.

During the workshop, attention was given on how to add information to through the online interface, and on how to deal with e.g. the status of a name, names including subgenera, and the treatment of names that are first published electronically. During two days of hands-on work, almost 200 species were newly added through the online interface. On  top of that, the upload, by the DMT, of an existing file from one of the editors resulted in an additional growth of MolluscaBase with more than 600 valid species, bringing the total entry of new Mollusc species during the workhop to about 940! And also immediately after the workshop, the addition of species continued, resulting in an extra >700 species being added.There are now exactly 65,000 valid species of molluscs in MolluscaBase, of which 47,696 marine, 3,262 fresh, and 5,573 terrestrial (all Recent), plus 8,900 fossil only species. It is expected that it will take 2-3 years to index the remaining valid non-marine species.

In addition, more experienced editors within MolluscaBase dedicated their time to quality controlling and adding new traits information, where they put the focus on (1) functional group information and (2) feeding type information. They were able to verify the already present information on benthos – plankton – nekton – neuston and to add this information on all levels where this was still missing. As a result, all aquatic Mollusca species are now assigned to one of these groups, which is an enormous step forward for the traits-part of the Aphia database! Following the functional group trait, the experts started tackling the feeding mode of Molluscs, which is now documented in detail for about 30% of the Mollusca species. Lastly, the group also paid attention to enriching MolluscaBase with good images, and plans have been made to collaborate with museums and institutions on this topic.

The organisation of the workshop and the support of the Data Management Team (DMT) are supported by LifeWatch Belgium, part of the E-Science European LifeWatch Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research. LifeWatch is a distributed virtual laboratory, which is used for different aspects of biodiversity research. The Taxonomic Backbone of LifeWatch aims at bringing together taxonomic and species-related data and at filling the gaps in our knowledge. In addition, it gives support to taxonomic experts by providing them logistic and financial support for meetings and workshops related to expanding the content and enhancing the quality of taxonomic databases.

Picture: from left to right: David (Dai) Herbert, Philippe Bouchet, Leen Vandepitte (front – DMT), Bram Breure (back), Serge Gofas (front), Maxim Vinarski (back), Barna Pall-Gergely, Frank Köhler (front), Eike Neubert (back), Wim Decock (back – DMT), Ruud Bank (front), Thomas Lanssens (back – DMT), Ira Richling (front), Kevin Verfaille (DMT)