Monthly Archives: July 2012

Photo of the day (138): Thaumastus

This picture was taken during bird-watching in the Jorupe Reserve in southern Ecuador. This Fundación Jocotoco reserve on the border of Ecuador and Peru, consists of Tumbesian dry tropical forest. On one of the trees this large species was spotted, which bears some resemblance to Lissachatina fulica. Fortunately, this is not the case; it is a Thaumastus species, which is difficult to identify without additional pictures.

Anyway, a nice picture of a beautiful snail from an interesting locality.

Thanks to Kate Richardson for sharing!


Photo of the day (137): Cerion

This artistic photo of Cerion uva (L.) on Cura??ao was made by Carel de Haseth. It shows how specimens of the same species which are morphologically very differently can occur in the same population. 

Would there be an evolutionary advantage of being long and slender in this environment? Do these two forms still reproduce successfully? Just questions of a curious mind???


Colombian snail catalogue

Last week a catalogue on the land and freshwater snail from Colombia has been published. The announcement (in Spanish) may be found here:; an interview with one of the authors may be found here:


The claim that Colombia, with 659 species of non-marine mollusks (of which 293 endemic species), is the third richest country *in the world* seems to me a bit exaggerated. Maybe this claim can hold truth for the Neotropics, as Brazil and Peru are mentioned to be more biodiverse. This is something to be checked when I actually can read the book. Hence to be continued later…

Linares, E.L. & Vera, M.L., 2012. Cátalogo de los moluscos continentales de Colombia. Universidad Nacional, Bogotá, 360 pp.

A new Bahiensis

Some journals publish accepted papers immediately online, often without pagination which will only be added when it appears on paper. Today I received such a paper, describing a new Bahiensis species from fossil beds in Uruguay (Cabrera & Martínez, 2012).

 The land snail family Odontostomidae has a poor fossil record, mainly from the middle Paleogene and early Neogene of Argentina. In this paper a new species of Odontostomidae from the Paleocene of Uruguay (Queguay Formation) is described. Bahiensis priscus  n. sp. represents the first record of the genus Bahiensis  Jousseaume 1877, and the oldest record for an Odontostomidae. The new species is characterized by a pupoid fusiform shell and an oval aperture with a single axial columellar fold. Present distribution of the genus indicates a tropical–subtropical environment, in high humidity rate areas.



It is nice to see that recently more efforts have been put in research on Neotropical fossil land snails. This will certainly help to get a better understanding about their evolution and their distribution in time and space.
Cabrera, F. & Martínez, S., 2012. The oldest Odontostomidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda): Bahiensis priscus n. sp. (Paleocene, Uruguay). – Paläontologische Zeitschrift 

Hispaniolan Annulariidae

Recently a new paper of Watters (2012) was published on Annulariidae from the island of Hispaniola. The abstract is copied below:

Eleven new taxa of Hispaniolan Annulariidae are described: Abbottella (Abbottella) urbana new species [Fig. 1-3],  Chondropoma (Chondropoma) crystallinum new species, Chondropoma (Chondropoma) duffyhooksorum new species, Chondropoma (Chondropoma) vanattae polychroma new subspecies [Fig. 18-19], Chondropoma (Wetmorepoma)  morsecodex new species [Fig. 22-23], Parachondria (Parachondria) gettlemani new species, Articulipoma rhodei new species [Fig. 29-30], Chondropomium blaineorum new species, Chondropomium lynx new species [Fig. 39-40], Chondropomium eusarcum saonaense new subspecies, and Licina bartschi new species. Based on new material, Chondropoma (Chondropoma) manielense montivagum Bartsch, 1946, is synonymized with the nominal subspecies Chondropoma (Chondropoma) manielense manielense Bartsch, 1946 and Chondropoma (Chondropoma) quisquense sculptior Bartsch, 1946 is synonymized with the nominal subspecies Chondropoma (Chondropoma) quisquense quisquense Bartsch, 1946. Chondropoma (Chondropomium) vermiculatum sensu lato Bartsch, 1946 is moved to Crossepoma based on opercular features. The type locality of Chondropoma (Chondropomium) vermiculatum sallei Bartsch, 1946 is restricted to Cabral, Barahona Province, Dominican Republic. The type locality of Choanopoma solutum Pfeiffer, 1852 is restricted to the southern edge of Los Haitises Mountains, N of Majagual, ca. 12 km NW of Sabana Grande de Boya??, Monte Plata Province, Dominican Republic. The type locality of Chondropoma loweanum Pfeiffer, 1852 is restricted to Loma del Aguacate, Sierra Mart??n Grac??a, Barahona Province, Dominican Republic. Distributional and habitat notes are given for additional species.

Some selected pictures of the new taxa described are here reproduced.

Watters, G.T., 2012. Hispaniolan Annulariidae (Gastropoda), primarily from the Barahona Peninsula: new taxa and notes. – The Nautilus 126: 1-14. 


Photo of the day (135): Microceramus

Through the courtesy of François van der Hoeven, I received a photograph of a live specimen of Microceramus bonariensis (E.A. Smith, 1898).

This picture was made by Carel de Haseth during one of the weekly trips of the Archeological Working Group on the island of Curaçao. There was a shower of rain during their visit to the Spaansche Put area. Shortly after the rain, this snail was observed. “La Donna è mobile”; it doesn’t happen too often that pictures like this can be made…

Thanks to Carel and Françcois for sharing!


Revised phylogeny of Orthalicoidea

Two years ago, we published a first phylogeny of the Orthalicoidea (Breure et al., 2010), in which we used 22 taxa and concluded on five families (with possibly the Megaspiridae as a sixth one). Since then molecular research continued and – together with Pedro Romero – we just published a revised phylogeny, using 74 taxa representing 30 genera (Breure & Romero, 2012).

Our results support previously presented hypotheses, but also give surprises in terms of unexpected topologies. Phylogenetic trees were estimated using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference, and compared with traditional classifications. Phylogenetic estimations using three loci gave a strong support for monophyly of Orthalicoidea, as well as for some clades within this group (Bulimulidae, Bothriembryontidae, Orthalicidae, Amphibulimulidae), but not for others (Odontostomidae and Megaspiridae). In the resulting revision of the classification scheme of the Orthalicoidea, the tribe Simpulopsini is raised to family rank. This results in the division of the superfamily into seven families. 


We also made a divergence time analysis, which suggests the origin of the superfamily around 100 million years ago. The major diversification started, however, around the Creatceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary (red, dotted line in the figure below). We also tested the hypotheses that the break-up of Gondwana may explain the division within the Gondwanan clade. However, we only found evidence for the split between Australian Bothriembryon and South American Discoleus and Plectostylus, node V, is according to the known geological data of break-up of Gondwana. The other splits within this clade need hypotheses of long-distance dispersal. As land snails are generally thought not to be dispersed over long distances, despite a growing evidence to the contrary, this remains a puzzle to be solved. Note that an ancestor could have been dispersed shortly after the breaking of Gondwana was started, resulting in shorter distances than the present geography suggests.


Breure, A.S.H., Groenenberg, D.S.J. & Schilthuizen, M., 2010. New insights in the phylogenetic relations within the Orthalicoidea (Gastropoda, Stylommatophora) based on 28S sequence data. – Basteria 74: 25-31.
Breure, A.S.H. & Romero, P.E., 2012. Support and surprises: molecular phylogeny of the land snail superfamily Orthalicoidea (Gastropoda, Stylommatophora) using a three-locus gene analysis with a divergence time analysis and ancestral area reconstruction. – Archiv für Molluskenkunde 141: 1-20.  


Urocoptidae resolution

Today a paper was published by Kabat et al., resolving the problematic taxonomic situation around the Urocoptidae book a few years ago (Torre & Bartsch, 2008).

This paper clarifies the confusion relating to the publication of Carlos de la Torre & Paul Bartsch???s taxonomic study of the Cuban Urocoptidae. This massive work, which described >500 new taxa, was completed in manuscript form in 1943, but was not published during the authors??? lifetime. In 1972 Miguel Jaume and Alfredo de la Torre (a nephew of C. de la Torre) published a slightly modified version of a large portion of this manuscript in the Circulares del Museo y Biblioteca de Zoolog??a de la Habana, a mimeographed journal which is available for taxonomic purposes per ICZN Code Article 8. The 420 new taxa introduced in this paper were made available under the ICZN Code (even though many were differentiated only in identification keys) and should be attributed to C. de la Torre & Bartsch because the descriptions were copied from the 1943 manuscript and Jaume & A. de la Torre explicitly credited this work to the former two authors (per Article 50 of the 1964 edition of the ICZN Code). The 1972 paper does not delineate type material for most of the new species-group taxa; however the detailed information provided in the 1943 manuscript constitutes valid evidence of the type series per ICZN Code (1999) Article 72.2. The 1972 paper was republished by Jaume & A. de la Torre in 1976 in the Ciencias Bi- ol??gicas of the Universidad de la Habana. In 1980 Jaume & A. de la Torre prepared a typescript describing the remaining new taxa from the 1943 manuscript, which was slated to be published in the Circulares; however we have not found any evidence that it was distributed or otherwise made available in a manner satisfying the ICZN Code criteria for availability. In 2008 Carolina de la Torre, grand-niece of C. de la Torre, published the entire 1943 manuscript in a book of more than 760 pages that was printed in Havana. The authorship of this book was credited to C. de la Torre & Bartsch. The book describes as new the taxa already treated in the 1972 paper as well as 130 additional taxa, which also should be attributed to C. de la Torre & Bartsch. We briefly discuss the disposition of the Cuban urocoptid material studied by C. de la Torre & Bartsch and the subsequent citations to their taxonomic study of this fauna. 

Kabat, A.R., Herschler, R. & Gonz??lez Guill??n, A., 2012. Resolution of taxonomic problems associated with the complex publication history of the seminal Torre and Bartsch monograph on Cuban Urocoptidae (Gastropoda, Pulmonata). – Zootaxa 3362: 43-53.
Torre, C. de la & Bartsch, P., 2008. Los moluscos terrestres cubanos de la familia Urocoptidae: edici??n homenaje al 150 aniversario de don Carlos de la Torre. Habana, Editorial Cient??fico-T??cnica, Ruth Casa Editorial: [i-xxxvii], 1-730, [1-28].

New fossil species from Brazil and Argentina

In the last issue of Archiv f??r Molluskenkunde appeared two papers describing new fossil land shells, respectively from Brazil and Argentina.

The first paper is from Salvador & Simone, dealing with fossils from the Itaborai Basin. The abstract reads as follows. 


Brasilennea is an endemic genus of the Itaborai Basin, recently showed to belong to the family Cerionidae. The new species, B. guttula is the third species discovered from this locality and points to a far more southern distribution range of this family during the Paleocene.



The other new species described is Eoborus rotundus, which is the second species of this known from Itaborai and the third species of the genus.

The second paper is by Rodriguez et al. and reports a fossil belonging to the family Charopidae from Patagonia.

Rodriguez, P.E, Miquel, S.E., Tauber, A.A. & Krapovicas, J.M., 2012. First record of land gastropods of the family Charopidae in the Early to Middle Miocene from Santa Cruz Province, Southern Patalogonia, Argentina. (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Stylommatophora: Charopidae). – Archiv f??r Molluskenkunde 141: 57-66.
Salvador, R.B. & Simone L.R.L., 2012. New fossil pulmonate snails from the Paleocene of Itabora?? Basin, Brazil. (Pulmonata: Cerionidae, Strophocheilidae, Orthalicidae). – Archiv f??r Molluskenkunde 141: 43-50.