Monthly Archives: January 2015

Bostryx tortoranus complex

Maria José Miranda, a young researcher from Argentina, has just published a new paper on some Bostryx species from that country. As it is advance access, the printed version will follow later.

Schermafbeelding 2015-01-14 om 15.39.36

The abstract reads: “Morphology of the shell, radula, jaw, anatomy and sculpture of the inner wall of the reproductive system are described and compared for three species belonging to the Bostryx tortoranus species complex. On the basis of these characters, the following changes are proposed: Bostryx martinezi (Hylton Scott, 1965) is removed from synonymy with Bostryx tortoranus (Doering, 1879) and Bulimulus (Scansicochlea) cicheroi Hylton Scott, 1967 is transferred from synonymy with B. tortoranus to synonymy with B. martinezi. As a result of these changes, the number of species of Bostryx known from Argentina has increased to 19 species. Bostryx tortoranus and B. martinezi are redescribed, also the radula and anatomy of Bostryx rudisculptus (Parodiz, 1956) are described for the first time. The main distinctive morphological characters of the three species are: the structure of the shell’s protoconch and teleoconch, radular morphology, location of the secondary ureter opening, the length of the free oviduct with respect to the vagina and the epiphallus with respect to the penis and the bursa copulatrix duct’s inner wall sculpture. Bostryx martinezi and B. rudisculptus have restricted distributions and are ecologically endemic, whereas B. tortoranus has a wide distribution and is located in different dry ecoregions”.

Miranda, M.J. (2015) Bostryx tortoranus (Doering, 1879) species complex (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora: Bulimulidae), a review of taxonomy and distribution of endemic species from Argentina. – Journal of Natural History, DOI: 10.1080/00222933.2014.981313 (advance access).

New species from Brazil

Thanks to the continuous effort of some Brazilian colleagues, the malacofauna of that country is enriched last year with several new taxa. I here briefly report on two contributions.

Fontanella et al. reported on shell mounds in Santa Catarina which remained from ancient times when Paleoamericans used shells to make ornaments and tools, or used them as a food source. One of the species discovered during archeological work on remains in Jaguaruna municipality is a new species of Megalobulimus, M. jaguarunensis.

Fontenelle 2014

Another paper describing a new species of Leiostracus was published by Salvador & Cavallari, based on a single shell in the Senckenberg Museum Frankfurt, without precise habitat and locality data.


Fontenelle J.H., Cavallari D.C. & Simone L.R.L. (2014) A new species of Megalobulimus (Gastropoda, Strophocheilidae) from Brazilian shell mounds. – Strombus 21: 30–37.
Salvador, R.B. & Cavallari, D.C. (2014) A new species of Leiostracus (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Orthalicoidea) from Espirito Santo, Brazil. – Iheringia, Zoologia 104: 364–366.

A ‘blanket’ of Bostryx

Edmundo Martinez kindly send me some pictures which show an extraordinary wind accumulation of Bostryx shells on a sandy slope of the coastal range in northern Chile. The hill is 450 meters high and the shells are distributed from the top to the base.



Bostryx accumulation

This phenomenon is so evident, that can even be seen from a plane looking down, as shown on this photo in Google Earth (2014 image, see marker); the simulated ‘flight height’ is 9.6 km.

Schermafbeelding 2015-01-11 om 11.00.08

Sequel to an end

Today the final part of the sequel on types of Orthalicoidea in the Natural History Museum, London was published. When I prepared my SYNTHESYS application back in 2010 for this project, one of the elements was the sentence “Good documentation of type material is crucial to establish a stable taxonomy”. Five years later and a total of 616 pages further down the line, type material of 592 taxa in this museum has been documented.

Schermafbeelding 2015-01-13 om 08.22.32

I realized that submitting such an application in 2014 during the last round of SYNTHESYS wouldn’t have been successful, after having read the answer of one of its committees on a similar proposal. “The Selection Panel detected curatorial work and pure documentation as the main purposes of your visit and therefore your application was considered a lower priority when compared to more hypothesis-driven research proposals”. Apparently this Committee has forgotten what the core activity of a natural history museum should be, and lost its way in their eagerness to pleasure policy makers who have no clue about systematics anyway. With such colleagues (and management!), the decline of taxonomy seems to be inevitable and institutions are at risk. Every new affiliation of a natural history museum with a university is one battle lost.
Nevertheless, some of you do a decent job of ‘luctor et emergo’, and hopefully we can continue…
Anyhow, for those who are still interested in the subject, you may find the paper following this link: “Annotated type catalogue of the Megaspiridae, Orthalicidae, and Simpulopsidae (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Orthalicoidea) in the Natural History Museum, London”  ZooKeys 470: 17-143, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.470.8548.