A new minute Jamaican snail

Jeff Nekola and Gary Rosenberg have just a joint paper out about a new vertiginid snail from Jamaica. One of the authors well-known for his studies of Vertiginidae, the other for his database on the Jamaican malacofauna; this paper seems to be a perfect blend of expertise.

Vertigo marciae, a new species of gastropod mollusk (Pupilloidea: Vertiginidae), is described from Jamaica. This species is known in the Recent fauna only from John Crow Peak in the Blue
Mountains, but also occurs as a Pleistocene fossil at Red Hills Road Cave. Vertigo marciae has been confused with V. gouldii, but differs by its smaller shell size, lack of distinct shell striation, lack of an angular lamella, and presence of a flared aperture base. DNA sequence analyses document that V. marciae possesses unique mtDNA and nDNA sequences and is most closely allied with Vertigo alabamensis, V. hebardi, and V. oscariana. This group of species comprises a highly supported clade whose members are limited either to the Caribbean or the southeastern USA.

The authors suggest on the basis of their data a relict status for this endemic species, which nevertheless could also be looked for at other islands in the Caribbean in suitable habitat and altitudes. They postulate, on the basis of their molecular research, that long distance dispersal might be involved in this case.

Reference:
Nekola, J.C. & Rosenberg, G. (2013). Vertigo marciae (Gastropoda: Vertiginidae), a new land snail from Jamaica. – The Nautilus 127: 107–114.

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