Monthly Archives: October 2011

Checklist and bibliography of Mexico and Central America

Thompson published a Checklist and bibliography of land and freshwater snails of Mexico and Central America in 2008; it was published online at the website of the Florida Museum of Natural History museum.

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Recently an updated version of this publication was published in the Bulletin of the Museum, vol. 50 (Thompson 2011). It is available here: http://bit.ly/quhmro. One of the additions are species checklists for each country and the states in Mexico.

New paper

Today a new paper was published written together with Francisco Borrero (Borrero & Breure 2011). It revises the Amphibulimidae (genera Dryptus and Plekocheilus) from Colombia and adjacent areas.

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The following new species are described, all from Colombia:

Plekocheilus (P.) bigener from Dept. Riseralda, Parque Nacional Natural Tatam??, Cerro Tatam??, 3600-3770 m (holotype RMNH 125626).

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Plekocheilus (P.) incognitus from Dept. Antioquia, Medell??n, Vereda Piedras Blancas, 2200 m (holotype UAM).

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Plekocheilus (Eurytus) camaritagua from Dept. Amazonas, Corregimiento La Pedrera (holotype ICNB).

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Plekocheilus (Eurytus) paraguas from Dept. Valle del Cauca, Serran??a de Los Paraguas, Corregimiento El Boquer??n, Vereda Las Amarillas, near Cerro El Ingl??s, ~2160 m (holotype UVZ 97015).

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Plekocheilus (Eurytus) labiosus from Dept. Cundinamarca, Parque Nacional Chingaza, Embalsa de Chuza, ~3100 m (holotype UVZ 97034).

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All together 60 taxa are treated, with several keys to species (groups); additionally some taxa are reproted as unassignable or as erroneously reported from Colombia. Several species from neighbouring contries (Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama) are also included. 

A new introduced slug in Brazil

A Chinese slug has been reported as new introduced and invasive species in Brazil. This species Meghimatium pictum (Stoliczka, 1873) belongs to the Philomycidae. Gomes et al. (2011) have studied the distribution, anatomy and CO1 of this species, and compared it with material from mainland China. It is distributed in south and southeastern Brazil, possibly introduced with agricultural products (mushroom production).

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This is another evidence of the side effects from increasing, globalising trade. The authors also discuss the potential risks as agricultural pest. 

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Reference:
Gomes, S.R., Pican??o, J.B., Colley, E., Agudo-Padr??n, A.I., Nakano, E. & Thom??, J.W., 2011. A newly introduced and invasive land slug in Brazil: Meghimatium pictum (Gastropoda, Philomycidae) from China. – Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 161: 87-96. 

Publishing perils

Publishing a paper is often like giving birth. Every author who publishes more than a snippet knows. Checking every detail in the text, looking up references, and making the figures suitable for your journal of choice. The latter activity can be a story on its own. But at one, good day the manuscript in ready for submission. And depending on the journal chosen, the way from submission to print may be fast or slow. Some journals build their reputation on a thorough review process, while others are of such high reputation that they have a long queue of manuscripts for publication.

In systematics, things have changed. Traditionally printing was a prolonged process; digitizing techniques have had, however, a revolutionary impact; also on the speed of publishing. That is to say, they can. Some journals still take there time; to the benefit of the editors, there can be good reasons for it. Some journals are very proud of their short time between submitting and printing a paper.

Some examples from my own experience:
1) Submitted: 5.xi.2009; accepted: 22.iii.2010; published: 15.x.2010. Duration: nearly a year.
2) Submitted: 15.i.2009; accepted 2.iii.2009; published: 6.iv.2009. Duration: < 3 months.
3) Submitted: 8.iv.2009, accepted 12.v.2009, published 9.vii.2009. Duration: 3 months.
4) Submitted 15.ii.2011, accepted 7.iv.2011, published 31.v.2011. Duration 3+ months.
The fastest example I have (not from my own experience!) is:
5) Submitted 5.viii.2011, accepted 5.ix.2011, published 29.ix.2011. Duration: 55 days.

Note that not all journals publish these complete data, hence the total duration between submission and publication is not always clear. Some examples may elucidate this.
Zoologische Mededelingen Leiden:
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Zootaxa:
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ZooKeys:
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European Journal of Taxonomy:
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Last year I finished, together with a co-author, a substantial paper. It was submitted on 11.viii.2010. On 4.x.2010 the editor reported that the manuscript was “back from the reviewers and I hope to get to it in the not too distant future”. Only after a repeated inquiry, the reviews were sent on 24.iii.2011. My co-author then asked “Unfortunately, a long time has passed since our original submission of this manuscript, and we would like the paper to be published as soon as possible. For these reasons,  we would like to ask if you can provide us with some assurance that the paper can indeed be published within a short time from our re-submission. Please let me know if this is possible. We will be working in addressing the reviewers’ and your suggestions for which we are thankful.” No answer. We re-submitted the revised manuscript on 10.iv.2011. Silence again. It lasted till this month before the editor accepted the manuscript. Today I corrected the second proof, so hopefully the paper will be out soon. But 365+ days between submission and publication for the “world’s foremost journal in systematic zoology”?!? Ridiculous!???

As such I could live with it, if we had known beforehand this was a ‘normal’ procedure for this journal. Moreover, I had anticipated on the publication of the paper in writing another manuscript (no, it’s not going to appear in the same journal???). I have many references to species which appeared in both papers. But giving the correct reference is now difficult. Just a side-effect from this long drawn-out process.

One lesson learnt: choose the journal with care and check the credentials of the editor before you submit a manuscript.