Trying to look up some data on Placostylus species described by Gassies, I visited today the Artis Library of the University Amsterdam. Indeed I found there his papers entitled “Faune conchyliologique terrestre et fluvio-lacustre de la Nouvelle-Cal??donie”, which appeared in the Actes de la Soci??t?? Linn??enne de Bordeaux in 1863, 1871 and 1880. Only not as journal publications, but as separate books.
Recently, a paper appeared on micromolluscs from Chile and Peru (Miquel & Ram??rez, 2011). It deals with species of the genus Stephadiscus Hylton Scott, 1981, originally described for several taxa from Argentina and Chile (Patagonia and Falkland Islands-Islas Malvinas).
Still in its infancies, a Network for Neotropical Biogeography is being formed now to stimulate scientific interaction and promote inter-disciplinary cooperation (among other aims).
This was the heading Harry Lee gave some days ago to his post on the Conch-L site to announce the return of Lissachatina fulica in Florida. Some religious zealot had used these snails to have his disciples swallow their juices, causing that many of them had to go to hospital for treatment.
Transmission of the nematode parasite,/ Angiostrongylus cantonensis/, to
man is rare, and disease (most conspicuously eosinophilic
meningoencephalitis) even rarer. Human infection typically involves*
ingestion* of one (or more) un- or under-cooked snail. The parasite
exercises very little if any selectivity as to which amphibious or
terrestrial snail in infects in the course of its somewhat unusual life
cycle. The prominence of /Achatina fulica/ in human transmission is
essentially a function of its size and human cultural preferences. It is
likely that hundreds of snail species are naturally-infected. Among them
are /Bradybaena similaris <http://www.jaxshells.org/gallery2.htm>/ and
subulinids, e.g., <http://www.jaxshells.org/octona.htm>, which have been
introduced into the SE USA like the Giant African Snail but have spread
widely. If it were customary for people to consume these little fellows
in areas where the parasite was present, these pulmonates would be the
culprits, and they would qualify for vilification by the Fourth Estate. Someone, somewhere, once wrote that a person touching the mucus of an
infected snail (e.g., /Achatina fulica/) and then touching his mouth or
another mucous membrane, could allow the infective larva(e) of this
roundworm to infect him. That oft-repeated anecdote is the basis for the
rubber glove caveat. While I don’t advocate slathering uncooked snail
slime on your lips, conjunctivae, etc. in geographic areas when this
parasite occurs, reason indicates that this scenario is rank hyperbole. A discussion of the medical geography of this parasite and the evolution
of human disease in relation to another host, apple snails, is archived
Comments on the virulence of the disease and its treatment are included.
Fossil shells in the Neotropics are scarce, but very interesting as they can give us a clue about distributions (and possibly habitats) in the past. A study of fossils from the Itaborai basin in eastern Brazil (Salvador et al., 2011), now has lead to the conclusion that Brasilennea species have been wrongly assigned to the Streptaxidae. Instead, they should be placed within the Cerionidae. This family is now occurring in the Caribbean region, and this re-classification sheds a new light on the past distribution of this group. The type species of this genus, B. arethusae Maury, has several characteristics that are more in accordance with cerionids than streptaxids.
In my mailbox I found these pictures from a girl eating snails (probably Naesiotus sp.) on a Quito-Otavalo autobus. Adri??n Gonz??lez, who took the pictures, told me that normally at Halloween time in November (Day of the Death); this is a custom in Ecuador. But the people around Otavalo seems to be especially fond of snails, as they are selling (and eating) them all year round.
On my last day in Australia, I was taken on a brief excursion to Walyunga National Park by Hugh Morrison. Together with Brian Cleaver and Derek Mead-Hunter he is doing there interesting research on Bothriembryon indutus.