Snail from Atacama region, Chile

Today a paper was published about the Chilean Atacama region. This is in the coastal desert and is a harsh environment for snails. The authors, Araya & Catalán, have made a laudable effort to chart the species and provide a key for easy identification. This paper is limited to the non-bulimulid terrestrial snails, i.e. the families Bothriembryontidae, Charopidae, Ellobiidae, Pupillidae, Strophocheilidae, and Helicidae.

Terrestrial mollusca are sparsely studied in Chile and, for the first time, a formal record of the diversity of land snails in northern Chile is reported. Coastal and desertic areas in the Region of Atacama, in the border of the Atacama desert and the Pacific Ocean, were surveyed with the aim to describe the presence and distribution of this poorly known fauna. Of the fourteen species recorded, the geographic distribution records for nine species are extended, and some taxa are recorded for the first time since their original descriptions. All, except one, of the fourteen terrestrial molluscan species occurring in the area are endemic to Chile; they are all terrestrial species, most of them have a restricted geographic distribution, and none of them is currently protected by law. The results reveal that the region of Atacama has one of the most diverse terrestrial snail biodiversity in Chile, ranking only after the Juan Fernandez Archipelago. Distribution records of all the studied species and a taxonomic key are also provided.

Araya&Catalan

Reference:
Araya, J. F. & Catalán, R. (2014): A review of the non-bulimulid terrestrial Mollusca from the Region of Atacama, northern Chile — ZooKeys 398: 33–51. http://bit.ly/1mI5w4r.

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