Monthly Archives: February 2014

2400 years of malacology

Recently appeared a new version of ‘2400 years of malacology’, the compilation of biographical data of people with importance for malacology, conchology, palaeontology, and others with interests in molluscs, from Aristotle to the present. This is the 11th edition; previous ones were done by Eugene Coan, Alan Kabat and Dick Petit, but as the latter passed away on 31 December 2013, Coan and Kabat decided they are the sole authors of this edition which they published within 2 weeks of the death of Dick Petit. From this side of the pond it appears as if his contributions to this edition were just discarded. I have seen various other publications where in a similar case the deceased author was still honoured and mentioned with a sign (e.g., Coan, Kabat & Petit†); but this is probably a matter of style.

The main version has grown from 1088 to 1128 pages, the collations of malacological publications from 89 to 94 pages; only the collation of Martini & Chemnitz’ work has remained the same.

Now I have seen so many snails in art works showing in several cases realistic illustrations of snails, I wonder why the names of these artists should not be honoured in this compilation? Is only written text of importance to malacology or helped also visual arts to spread the interest in our snails?   

Annex 1 of the collations gives many details for different works important to malacology for which the bibliographical data are of importance. Nearly all data have been copied from other sources, so essentially this work is for ease-loving taxonomists. My credo is always: “Go back to the original source”. In previous editions there appeared a lapsus in the dates for d’Orbigny’s ‘Voyage dans l’Amérique meridionale…’; plate 38 was mentioned twice with different dates, plate 33 was missing. As source was given Cowie, R.H. & Thiengo, S.C., 2003. Malacologia 45: 41–100; upon checking I found the same lapsus. This was confirmed by Robert Cowie when I asked him about it “Unfortunately the error was mine. I took the dates in the 2003 paper from  Evenhuis and Cowie, 1995, without re-checking them. The error occurs in both publications”. In the present edition, however, this error has been corrected with the assistance of Neal Evenhuis. 

As usual the publication may be found at

Serra da Capivara

Earlier in 2013 Simone & Casati published a paper on a series of shells from a relatively unknown region in Brazil, the Serra da Capivara.

The abstract is: “Five new species and one new genus are described from the Serra da Capivara, Piauí, Brazil, a region of semi-dry, Caatinga environment. The described taxa are: Odontostomidae: 1) Clinispira insolita, n. gen. n. sp., possessing strange spire inclination and aperture approaching to the shell apex, it looks closely related to Anostoma, Tomigerus and Biotocus; 2) Cyclodontina capivara n. sp., with well-developed axial ribs and 6 teeth at peristome; 3) Anctus prolatus n. sp., very elongated, with aperture lacking teeth; Simpulopsidae: 4) Rhinus gilbertus n. sp., somewhat elongated and relatively well-sculptured; Streptaxidae: 5) Streptartemon molaris n. sp., possessing a very large basalis tooth at peristome. Two subulinids are also reported from the region: 6) Beckianum beckianum (Pfeiffer, 1846), a population with peculiar pointed shell apex and well-developed axial sculpture; 7) Lamellaxis cf. gracilis (Hutton, 1834), a wide-ranged species that merits further investigation. These descriptions show how scanty is our knowledge on northeast Brazilian malacofauna and may raise efforts for its preservation.” All material comes from the same locality, Cave Toca de Cima dos Pilão, Coronel José Dias municipality.


Clinispira insolita n. gen. n. sp.


Cyclodontina capivara n. sp.


Anctus prolatus n. sp.


Rhinus gilbertus n. sp.


Streptartemon molaris n. sp.

The new, monotypic genus Clinispira is especially noteworthy, and maybe other species may turn up once this region is better investigated. The study of living specimens should clarify the relationships of the new taxa described by morphological and molecular studies.

Simone, L.R.L. & Casati, R. (2013). New land mollusk fauna from Serra da Capivara, Piauí, Brazil, with a new genus and five new species (Gastropoda: Orthalicoidea, Streptaxidae, Subulinidae). – Zootaxa 3683: 145–158.

Gastropods from Misiones, Argentina

Faunal inventories are the first step for any biodiversity research, and although Argentina recently had a partial update (see Cuezzo et al. 2013), the contribution of Gutiérrez et al. published at the same time is welcomed as well. It focusses on the northeastern part of the country, the Prov. Misiones.

Gutierrez f1

The abstract reads as follows: “The Atlantic Forest represents one of the global priority eco-regions for biodiversity conservation. In Argentina, this is represented by the Paranense Forest, which occupies much of the Misiones Province. In this paper, an updated list of land mollusks from Misiones Province is presented, and its species richness was evaluated comparing protected and unprotected areas. For this, we reviewed La Plata Museum Mollusk Collection, updated the literature review, and developed some field work between 2009 and 2010. For the areographic work, a grid (50x50km) was applied to a Misiones province map. In this region, large areas of native vegetation constituting the Paranaense Forest still persist, and include protected areas such as the Iguazu National Park and Puerto Peninsula Provincial Park. These areas have been the most explored at the malacological level (both terrestrial and aquatic environments), a fact that is consistent with the greater number of records found, which may also be the explanation for the highest number of species recorded in the region. A database containing 497 records was compiled. The number of species occurring in this Province was increased from 28 to 56; 11 of which were exotic species. A total of 38 of the species occurred in protected areas and 53 in unprotected areas; and 25 species were micro-mollusks. Orthalicidae was the family with the highest species number (10) and the widest distribution, occupying 16/20 sampling units. Megalobulimus was the genus found in a greater number of sampling units (14/20). The highest values of specific richness of land gastropods were found in Northern Misiones (R=32). This richness was similar to that previously reported for the Tucuman Province, although species occurring in both provinces were mostly different. The richness in Misiones Province border areas, as the Republic of Paraguay and the state of Santa Catarina (Brazil), was about twice that found in the province. The present study showed the existence of poorly explored areas at malacological level, especially in Central and Eastern Misiones. Data presented here will allow focus future sampling efforts on such areas, so patterns of species distribution can be better defined.” The main body of the article is in Spanish.

Gutiérrez, D.E., Núñez, V., Vogler, R.E., Beltramino, A.A. & Rumi, A. Gasterópodos de la provincia Misiones, Argentina. – Revista de Biología  Tropical 61 (4): 1759-1768.

Ecological study of Cuban land snails

Although the Cuban malacofauna is relatively well-known, ecological studies are relatively sparse and of major importance. Hernández & Reyes just published an extensive study on snails in a protected area in western Cuba in the Prov. Mayabeque (formerly the eastern part of Prov. La Habana).

Hernandez & Reyes 2013_f5

The abstract of this otherwise in Spanish paper is “Cuba has one of the richest land snail faunas of the world. This important fact has promoted different kind of studies on this group to promote conservation programs, from which many studies have directed their efforts to inventories, and population and community ecology. To contribute with this population knowledge, we studied land snails assemblages in three karstic elevations at the “Escaleras de Jaruco-Tapaste-Cheche” Natural Protected Landscape, Mayabeque, Cuba. We aimed to analyze the variation of the composition and structure of the assemblages between the rainy and little rainy months. The study was conducted from August to November 2009 and from January to April, 2010, in ten permanent square plots (9m2) separated for over 20m, on each elevation (Beluca, La Chirigota and La Jaula). In each plot, only live individuals were registered (physiologically active and at rest) to obtain species richness and abundance; besides, temperature (°C) and relative humidity (%) were also considered in each plot. A total of 4 248 individuals were observed which comprised two subclasses, live orders, 11 families, 20 genera and 21 species of terrestrial molluscs. From the total, 19 were Cuban endemics and eight were exclusive from Mayabeque, Matanzas. The Jaula showed the greater riches with 19 species, followed of Beluca with 17, and The Chirigota with 15. In the rainy months. La Jaula, showed individual’s greater abundance with 1 707, followed of Beluca with I 305 and La Chirigota with 1236. We observed differences in the population density in the three elevations between the rainy and little rainy months, which can be due to the climatic adverse conditions that are shown at the little rainy months. Additionally, during the survey we observed dominance of prosobranch species over the pulmonates. The specific abundance curves showed a steep slope, although was major in the rainy months in relation to the little rain months, which indicates the presence of dominant, common and rare species in the assemblages. In this study, it was demonstrated than the riches and the abundance of land snails in all three elevations, was favored for the elevated relative humidity and the air temperature during the rainy months. These environmental conditions resulted fundamental for the survival of these terrestrial gastropods, as the reproduction and search of food were favored”.

Hernández, M. & Reyes Tur, B. (2013). Composición y estructura en agregaciones de moluscos terrestres en el Complejho de vegetación de mogote, Escaleras de Jaruco, Cuba. – Revista de Biología Tropical 61 (4): 1769-1783.