Monthly Archives: September 2012

Bulimulus on the move (2)

Curious minds continue to check potential snail sites out??? So here is the latest report from Bill Frank.

13 Sep:
After studying Google Street View I went downtown to check out a couple of more potential Bulimulus species sites but this time on a different CSX Transportation rail line. Unlike the other CSX rail line along Main Street with all the Bulimulus which runs north and south (I presume from Jacksonville to Georgia), the one I checked today runs west from Jacksonville towards Lake City and I suppose to the Florida Panhandle.

My first stop was at the railroad crossing on Stockton Street just south of West Beaver Street. The building immediately adjacent to the tracks (10 Stockton Street) was just covered with Bulimulus. It was sort of sickening to see what our future looks like. The vegetation between the building and the tracks was also overloaded with Bulimulus – hundreds if not thousands of them. There may be more Bulimulus at this location than I’ve cumulatively seen at all the other sites that have Bulimulus combined. Even the building across the street had them but not very many. The only other terrestrial species I saw there was Bradybaena similaris which weren’t uncommon.  

I then drove out to Ed White High School and easily found a couple of live Daedalochila auriculta dwarfs. Time was running out so I didn’t stay but a few minutes. I then headed out to the square lake on Imeson Road and only stayed there briefly too and found a pair of Praticolella mobiliana out crawling around enjoying the wet weather. I saw no live Daedalochila.

Heading back into town I decided to check another railroad crossing over the same CSX line that I had perused at Stockton Street. This time I checked the crossing at McDuff Avenue just south of W. Beaver Street (damn Spartan snail habitat with not much in the way of vegetation) and was kind of shocked when I found Bulimulus there too out crawling around.  This site is about 1/2 mile west of the Stockton Street site. There weren’t a lot of them and they were small but they were there. Surprisingly, the place was overloaded with live  Succinea – at least two species – one very small species with a very high spire and Succinea unicolor. I kept a few of the U/I species as they don’t look like anything I’ve found in the past.
I initially found the Bulimulus along the RR tracks but later found them in the grass along the sidewalk (which is looking north towards Beaver Street). The grass along the sidewalk was just full of Succinea but they were along the dry old RR tracks too. A little rain sure brings out the snails.

Like I said previously, it appears that this Bulimulus species is wide spread in northeast Florida – probably at least for now only along CSX Transportation railroad lines but I wonder how long that will last. The problem surveying for these guys is the lack of access to the railroad tracks. CSX has no tresspassing signs all over the place and they have people out actively enforcing it.


Bulimulus on the move

Some time ago I reported on a mysterious Bulimulus having been found in and near Jacksonville, Florida (see my posts dd. 17-08-2009 and 05-07-2010 on my old blog at

Thanks to the unresting efforts of Bill Frank, the story continues…

18 Aug:
Made a little in town snail trip today. The conditions were great after the rain we’ve had the past couple of days.
The first stop was behind the Duval Container Company on Hanover Street. During my last visit the place was like a desert (nothing but dry vegetation) but today it was all grown up with fresh vegetation everywhere. It really didn’t look like the same place. The Bulimulus species were all over the place and there was no shortage of Praticolella mexicana and Bradybaena similaris either. It actually looked like the Bulimulus and Praticolella were expanding their limited range. I was truly surprised to find so many snails considering how few I had seen during my most recent visits.

19 Aug:
Early this morning I drove down to Main Street near the railroad tracks just south of the Trout River Bridge (AKA Marble Masters, 7621 North Main Street) to check on the Bulimulus population there discovered by my brother and sister in-law on 11/5/2011. I hadn’t visited the location since late December of 2011. At that time I found a good number of juvenile specimens, not many adults, but plenty of empty shells.
Today the species was everywhere (both adults and juveniles) but especially on the sides of buildings in the area along Main Street. I messed around near the railroad tracks for a while and discovered that the species was also on a building across the tracks a considerable distance from the ?main population? near Marble Masters. The species must be quite widespread in that area. I had checked the other side of the tracks back in December of last year and didn’t find any specimens there. All the rain we have been having has obviously been good for the snails.


1 Sep:
This morning I headed out to the Bulimulus species site on US-301 just south of Callahan in Nassau County. I hadn’t been there in a long while and during my last trip I reported that the county had graded the roadside swale where the species is found and I was unable to find any living specimens although empty shells were still present. Enroute I stopped at the creek at the Duval/Nassau County line on Lem Turner Road and confirmed my earlier observations that there just aren’t any snails there – not even Polygyra.
As I was driving south on US-301 toward the Bulimulus site I noted with dismay that there is some serious road construction going on. Both sides of 301 have been cleared and graded probably in preparation to making the road four lanes. Fortunately the clearing stopped a scant 25 feet north of the Bulimulus site/habitat. I was worried that I had driven all that way for nothing. However, I think that there is little doubt that all of the habitat (and the snails) will soon be destroyed so I was liberal in my collecting.
To say that there are a lot of Bulimulus would be the understatement of the year as they are just everywhere on the west side of the road for about 100 meters — both adults and tiny juveniles. However, like all my previous trips there the snails are found only under one type of vegetation/weed. Only God knows why but it sure makes them easy to find. The Bulimulus are the only species of snail that I found there – not even a Polygyra. The east side of the road doesn’t have that type of vegetation/weed and there are no Bulimulus there but a modest number of Polygyra.

4 Sep:
I went down town today to get a better handle on the exotic Bulimulus species on Main Street near the marble place. There are a whole lot more of them and they are more widely dispersed than I had imagined. Their habitat runs for at least four blocks and includes both the east and west sides of the railroad line. They are obviously doing well in light of the very large number of juveniles. As I had noticed the other day during my Bulimulus trip to Nassau County south of Callahan, the Bulimulus have a special attraction to one particular weed. I found the same weed and attraction in regards to the Main Street population. You would find a patch of this weed out in the middle of a mowed field/lawn and if you looked under it you found live Bulimulus. I tested it with at least 20 patches of the weed and I was 100 percent successful.
Because of the snail/weed attraction I drove across the Trout River Bridge to see what I could find along the railroad tracks up there. Yes, the same weed was found up there too and yes there were Bulimulus underneath it. The finding of the Bulimulus along the railroad tracks on the other side of the river leaves no doubt in my mind that the method of dispersal of these snails is by rail. The two other locations where this snail has been found are also located next to a railroad line. The snails sure didn’t swim or crawl across the Trout River!
A lot more work needs to be done in regards to surveying these guys. I think that there are probably many populations out there just waiting to be discovered. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if these guys aren’t the next Bradybaena similaris although the Bulimulus appear to prefer a drier habitat then the Bradybaena.

6 Sep:
Here is a map showing the Bulimulus sites on Main Street (US-17). I couldn’t find any up by the brewery on Busch Drive. It was so hot out there today that I was soaking wet before I even made it up north of Trout River. 


7 Sep:
I returned to the Main Street corridor this afternoon to check the CSX Transportation railroad line further north than my trip yesterday to see if the Bulimulus (Praticolella) might be present. A lot of the area doesn’t look good the further north you get. It’s such poor habitat that there aren’t even any Polygyra present – but Succinea are well represented in the wet areas. I did find one more large Bulimulus population just south of Eastport Road today although there too looked like poor habitat for snails. Today’s find extends the Bulimulus another 1.5 miles north with it being 3.5 miles north of the Trout River Site. Cumlulatively counting south of the river on the railroad line (Marble Masters), this brings the total distance where the snails have been found to 4.5 miles – although of course it isn’t continuous but a population here and there along the tracks.


The Eastport Site wasn’t very good habitat for the Bulimulus. They were so desperate for shelter that they were beneath the washed out bank in the ditch hiding in the dirt. When good shelter was present (vegetation) there were a shit-load of live specimens beneath it. The specimens from this site are much lighter in coloration than those from all the other known sites. It was a miracle I found them. I had initially found a single tiny live juvenile a little further north and it took me about a half hour before I hit the mother lode.


Today when I was collecting the Bulimulus sp. at Eastport Road from the dirt bank I noticed that one of them was partially buried in the dirt in a position that might indicate that it was despositing eggs (such as and 


8 Sep:
Today I drove out North Main Street all the way to Pecan Park Road and snailed my way back towards town. Most of the habitat didn’t look nearly as good in person as it did on the computer using Google Maps. Between that and the fact that overall there really aren’t many snails out there along Main Street, I didn’t find much of anything. Finally at Duval Road/Airport Road I found a single live Praticolella mexicana in the roadside swale. I tore that place apart and finally found a few more empty Praticolella shells and one live subulinid but couldn’t find any Bulimulus or any additional live Praticolella. Overall I made about six stations. On the way home I stopped at Eastport Road again and surveyed it a little more. There are a lot more Bulimulus there than I found yesterday — of which at least half of them are almost pure white in coloration.

Since it is obvious that this Bulimulus likes traveling ‘on the edge’ (see below), there might be further localities to be found once the surveying continues.
Many thanks Bill for your excellent field work!


Breaking news – E-publishing of new taxa and nomenclatural acts accepted by ICZN

After a long debate in several for a and discussions within the Commission, it is official now: e-publishing is now in agreement with the ICZN Code.

Given the conditions below in the press release from ZooKeys, I don’t expect many changes with the current practice. However, this small step is a leap for taxonomy! 

Few minutes ago, ZooKeys and Zootaxa published simultaneously  the amendment to the Code, which permits electronic publication of new taxa and nomenclatural acts, under the following key conditions:

(1) Registration of the publication in ZooBank
(2) Archiving of the orginal publicatiion in an archive other than publisher’s website
(3) The publishing outlet to bear an ISSN or ISBN number

Naturally, Zookeys is prepared to take care for all these issues on behalf of our authors!

The full reference of the article is:

International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (2012) Amendment of Articles 8, 9, 10, 21 and 78 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature to expand and refine methods of publication. ZooKeys 219: 1???10. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.219.3944

Related press release:

Colombian snail catalogue (cont’d)

In my post of July 23 I mentioned the new book by Linares and Vera, presenting a catalogue of the land and freshwater molluscs in Colombia. Recently I received the book through the courtesy of Edgar Linares and Tim Pearce (the latter kindly arranged the shipment). Having read now the book, I can supplement my comments.

The book is well-written and neatly presented. Besides the main part of the catalogue (covering 659 species arranged in 59 families), the book has chapters on the history of malacology in Colombia, taxonomy and diversity, and distribution; an extensive bibliography and index to scientific names makes this book important and useful.
The catalogue (p. 85-280) list each species with reference to the original publication, type locality and depository of type material (if known). This is followed by the distribution records within Colombia, arranged according to the Departments if specific localities are known. The altitudinal range is given and, if needed, further comments are supplied (e.g., precision of old historical localities which might not always be found in modern gazetteers). Finally, the main bibliographic sources for the species are listed.
The chapter on taxonomic diversity analyses the non-marine malacofauna with tables on the number of species per genus, the number of species known per Department within Colombia, and comparisons with the malacofauna of Peru and Brazil. The claim in the press release that Colombia is the third richest country in number of molluscs in the world appears to be incorrect; the book only compares Colombia, Peru and Brazil. As to be expected, the number of species distributed within the country reflects the historical accessibility and species records are concentrated in the Andean regions. The most dominant families are the Orthalicidae (sensu Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005) for land snails (219 species, 40.3%) and the Ampullariidae (39 species, 33.6%).
The authors compiled the book with data from literature, electronic databases from a number of museums in Europe and USA, and consulting the collection of the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales (ICN).

A check on data quality was done using own data, which have partially been published (Borrero & Breure, 2011; Breure & Borrero, forthcoming), apparently after the authors had finalised their manuscript in mid-2011. Data for Dryptus, Plekocheilus, Stenostylus  and Drymaeus all show the same pattern. Although many data are correct, there are frequently errors: taxonomical errors (taxa listed as separate species which are accepted synonyms, e.g. Plekocheilus bisuturalis; or using incorrect names, e.g. Drymaeus gracilis (Lea, 1838) [not Hutton, 1834 = D. leai Pilsbry, 1898]), distributional errors (mainly by uncritically copying data from databases which appear mislabelled or misidentified), and lacking data (localities are mentioned without reference to vouchers, e.g. Drymaeus spectatus). Some taxa are listed for Colombia which are endemic to other countries (e.g. Plekocheilus fusitorsus [Venezuela], P. rhodocheilus [Brazil]), or which presence in Colombia is doubtful or based on unverified records. On the other hand, some interesting specific localities are mentioned for species which lacked these until now, mainly based on the ICN collection. 

Despite the serious flaws mentioned above, this book is an important contribution to our knowledge of the Neotropical non-marine malacofauna. 

Borrero, F.J. & Breure, A.S.H., 2011. The Amphibulimidae (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Orthalicoidea) from Colombia and adjacent areas. – Zootaxa 3054: 1-59.
Bouchet, P. & Rocroi, J.-P., 2005. Classification and nomenclator of gastropod families. – Malacologia 47: 1-397.