Pantepui snails

Just published: a chapter on the land snails of the Venezuelan Pantepui region. It is a slightly updated summary of what was published some years ago, while in the meantime only slight progress was made.

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For the species reported hitherto from this area the taxonomy is summarised, and data on the ecology and biogeography is presented.

The rest of the book presents a lot of information on this interesting area of South America, both general and on the flora and fauna. The illustrations are plentiful and often spectacular.

Breure, A.S.H., 2019. Land snails: an updated summary: 247-261. — In: Rull, V., Vegas-Villarrúbia, T., Huber, O. & Señaris, C. (eds.) Biodiversity of Pantepui: the pristine ‘Lost World’ of the Neotropical Guayana Highlands. Academic Press, Cambridge


Historical range information

A paper just published by Salvador provides interesting information on some distribution ranges based on a historical collection. The abstract reads “The malacological collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (NMNZ), despite naturally focusing on New Zealand species, also includes a variety of specimens from South America. Examination of this material revealed new distributional data for several species. All Brazilian, Uruguayan and Argentinian terrestrial gastropods from the NMNZ collection were examined and re-identified (no material from Paraguay was found). The information gathered was compiled and is presented in this article, and may contain significant data for malacologists working with the region’s fauna. In summary, 99 species are reported, 13 of which represent new records and meaningful increments in geographical distribution, either extending their known range or filling distributional gaps. Moreover, the NMNZ collection houses the type material of six species from Brazil and Argentina described by the New Zealand malacologist Henry Suter (1841–1918) in 1900“.

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The material consists of species from 17 families. “The following 13 species have significant increments in their distribution (range extension or filling of distributional ‘gaps’): Auris chrysostoma, Auris illheocola, Auris melanostoma and Thaumastus nehringi (Bulimulidae [Thaumastus belongs to the Megaspiridae]); Callionepion iheringi (Megaspiridae); Cyclodontina fusiformis, Moricandia willi and Spixia martensii (Odontostomidae); Simpulopsis decussata (Simpulopsidae); Neobeliscus calcarius (Achatinidae); Happia iheringi (Scolodontidae); Epiphragmophora hieronymi (Epiphragmophoridae); and Solaropsis punctatus (Pleurodontidae) [sic, Solaropsidae]“. The author rightly draws attention to the fact that even historical collections – although sometimes lacking from precise data – can contribute to our knowledge of distribution of species. This being said, however, it also points to the insufficient inventories being made on a detailed scale in many of the Neotropical countries which leads to insufficient insights in the distribution of many species.

Salvador, R.B., 2019. Brazilian, Uruguayan and Argentinian terrestrial gastropods in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. – Tuhinga, 30: 82-98.

How ‘lefties’ are initiated

In some snails it occasionally occurs, in others it is more frequent, and in a few families (e.g. Clausiliidae) it is the norm: sinistral shells or ‘lefties’.

Also in the Neotropics this can be found. Clausiliids occur mainly in the Andean countries, and groups with some genera where sinistrality more or less frequent does occur are e.g. Corona and Drymaeus. But the genetic mechanism behind this phenomenon is now slowly unraveled. See the story behind the link below…

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Two new papers

Just out today are two new papers, both related to the history of malacology and linked to one of the important malacologists of the second half of the 19th century, Hippolyte Crosse.

The first paper describes the letters which Henri Drouët sent to Crosse. Quoting the abstract “The correspondence between Henri Drouët (1829-1900) and Hippolyte Crosse (1826-1898) is presented, both as the original French text and in a modern English translation; annotations are provided for the context. The main features of these 53 letters are given, and an analysis is given of the relationships with other malacologists during the second half of the nineteenth century”. The correspondence shows, among others, how divided the malacological community was at that time between followers from Bourguignat (‘Nouvelle École’) and the rest.

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The second paper looks on contacts bridging the Atlantic. Hippolyte Crosse has corresponded with many people all around the world during his editorship of the Journal de conchyliologie 1861 to 1898. From his correspondents in North America Thomas Bland and William Binney were his most important contacts, who sent him respectively 45 and 31 letters during 1863-1885. These letters are transcribed and reveal many exchanges of shells, anatomical data, but also give an impression of the wide group of American malacologists to which the two men had access. The publication date of the third livraison of the molluscan part of ‘Mission au Mexique et Guatemala’can be fixed before end of April 1873. The contacts between the three men may be best explained by closeness of friendship and scientific authority. The paper also reveals how Crosse played the role of middle-man between these American malacologists and e.g. Louis Pfeiffer in Germany.

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Both papers can be downloaded via my Publications page.

Breure, A.S.H. & Hovestadt, A., 2019. Bridging the Atlantic: the correspondence of Thomas Bland and William Binney with Hippolyte Crosse, between 1863 and 1885. – Folia conchyliologica, 49: 3-54.
Breure, A.S.H. & Audibert, C., 2019. A candid view of relations between malacologists in the second half of the nineteenth century: the correspondence of Henri Drouët with Hippolyte Crosse. – Folia conchyliologica, 49: 55-95.

Peruvian inventory in Amazonia

An interesting paper appeared recently, although only as ‘advance online’ and not yet in the final paginated version. It concerns an inventory of a protected are in Peruvian Amazonia.
The abstract reads “We investigated the land snail fauna of the Panguana conservation area on the western rim of the Amazonas basin in Peru. A total of 2,322 individuals assigned to 65 land snail species were collected in 32 plots. Ten additional species were found in collections made on previous expeditions to Panguana. On the basis of avail- able data, Panguana is the most species rich locality for land snails in South America. The species density of 75 land snail species in c. 2 km2 of rather homogeneous rainforest is also high on a global scale. The land snail fauna of Panguana is characterized by a very high proportion of species belonging to the carnivorous family Scolodontidae, many of which are likely to be new to science. The fauna includes seven species that are new records for Peru, and the species Hirtudiscus sp., Xenodiscula venezuelensis, Geostilbia aperta, Guppya gundlachii and Thysanophora plagioptycha represent genera not previously recorded from the country. The synanthropic species Allopeas gracile, Opeas hannense, Subulina octona, Geostilbia aperta and Gastrocopta servilis form an ecologically distinct group that occurs mainly in sites strongly modified by humans. The presence of these species on the margin of the Amazon rainforest is evidence of the ongoing homogenization of the global fauna”.

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Both the absolute number and the composition of the fauna is quite outstanding. It also shows that a thorough search by competent malacologists still can bring many new novelties for the Neotropics to the surface. Both as new records for a country and supposedly new species to science.

Wendebourg, B. & Hausdorf, B., 2019. The land snail fauna of a South American rainforest biodiversity hotspot: the Panguana conservation area in the Peruvian Amazon. – Journal of Molluscan Studies: 8 pp. doi:10.1093/mollus/eyz014

New book on Cuba

Just received the announcement that a new book has been published on the non-marine molluscs of the Isla de la Juventud, Cuba. It is written by Modesto Correoso, a Cuban malacologist who already lives for years in Ecuador. He has privately published the book under the label of Editorial Académica Española, an imprint of International Book Market Service Ltd.

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Since the copy I received is clearly for promotional purposes, having many blank pages or the text ‘no copiar’ printed in a large font, I cannot say much about its content. Apart from the introduction and some words on methodology, there are 3 chapters. The first highlights the historical collecting on the island, chapter 2 is on the geography, and the largest chapter is devoted on the land and freshwater species. For each species a description is given and several photos are supplied; habitat and conservation issues are also discussed. The book seems (as far as I can judge due to the many blanks) poor in taxonomic references, nor in mentioning type material. Many photos have been modified by the author from web sources, literature or sometimes have been taken from his personal collection. There is no index on the taxonomic names, nor are the genera or species listed in the contents.

Correoso, M., 2019. Contribución a la malacología pinera. Los Moluscos terrestres y fluviales de Isla de la Juventud (Isla de Pinos), Cuba. Editorial Académica Española, Mauritius, 298 pp. ISBN 9786139465736.

The price is € 82.90 at the publisher. Link here.

New Cuban species

A while ago (December 2017) Espinosa et al. published a paper which only now surfaced. Its abstract is extremely short, even not mentioning the names of the new species they described. “A commented and illustrated catalog of 37 land an freshwater mollusks species from Cupeyal del Norte, Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, Guantánamo, Cuba, is presented, 18 of them are new records to the park and 8 are described as new species, and data’s about others land mollusks species of the Park are included”.

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The new taxa introduced are:

[Helicinidae:] Emoda poeyana

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[Annulariidae:] Diplopoma (Subannularia) mucaralense

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Annularisca (Annularella) haylerae

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[Urocoptidae:] Arangia humboldtiana

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Carcinostemma silvai

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[Achatinidae:] Obeliscus (Stenogyra) diegoi

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[Cepolidae:] Coryda thierryi

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Coryda carabelloi

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Espinosa J., Herrera-Uría J. & Ortea J., 2017. Moluscos terrestres y fluviales del Sector Cupeyal del Norte, Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt, Guantánamo, Cuba, con la descripción de nuevas especies. – Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias, 29: 61-110.