Gray’s Spicilegia

Peter S. Pallas, who is mainly known for his explorations in Russia, published between 1767 and 1780 his ‘Spicilegia zoologica‘. In this work in Latin, consisting of a series of brief ‘fasciculus‘, he gathered information and gave illustrations of mammals, birds, fish and some frogs. This set up must have inspired John E. Gray in the late 1820s to write his own ‘Spicilegia zoologica; or Original Figures and Short Systematic Descriptions of New and Unfigured Animals’. The first part appeared in 1828, the second in 1830 and there seems also to be a later part 3; I have been unable to trace it.

Unlike the book of Pallas, the work of Gray is not available in BHL and for many years remained rare and difficult to consult. The first two parts are available here (http://bit.ly/1flyTce), but the quality of the illustrations is mediocre. Its significance for Neotropical malacology lies in the first part, where on p. 5 two species are mentioned, one of which described as new to science.

The first one, mentioned without further details about its locality, is Plectostylus peruvianus (Bruguière, 1789). Although described from “Pérou”, it actually is a Chilean species.
The second species is Bostryx hennahi (Gray, 1828), described from “Plains near Arica”; this is in (nowadays) northernmost Chile (see my post at https://breure.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/history-matters/). From the text on this page it becomes clear that the type was not part of the NHM collection, as for other species (e.g., Achatina nitens) “Mus. Brit.” indicated that the type is in the London museum. Gray’s species also occurs in (nowadays) southernmost Peru, shown by the type locality “Tacna” of the junior synonym Helix cactorum d’Orbigny, 1835, for which type material is present in NHM.

I’m grateful to Jonathan Ablett for scans from Gray’s paper and bibliographical data.

References:
Gray, J.E. (1828). Spicilegia zoologica; or Original Figures and Short Systematic Descriptions of New and Unfigured Animals, part 1: 1-8, pl. 1-6. London (Treüttel, Würtz & Co. & Wood).
Gray, J.E. (1830). Spicilegia zoologica; or Original Figures and Short Systematic Descriptions of New and Unfigured Animals, part 2: 9-12, pl. 7-11. London (Treüttel, Würtz & Co. & Wood).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s