Monthly Archives: October 2015

A new Lilloiconcha species

Micro mollusks are a neglected group (and not only in the Neotropics!). Araya & Aliaga (2015) have just described a new species of Lilloiconcha from Chile. It is L. lopezi from Region de Valparaiso, La Ligua, Los Molles.


The type material has been split between the Santa Barbara museum (holo- and 3 paratypes) and the Museo Paleontological de Caldera in Chile.

Araya, J.F. & Aliaga, J.A., 2015. A new species of Lilloiconcha Weyrauch, 1965 (Pulmonata: Charopidae) from central Chile. – Zootaxa 4007: 295-297.

New record of Polygyra from Guadeloupe

The introduction of Polygyra cereolus (Megerle von Mühlfeldt, 1816) on Guadeloupe is recorded in a paper by Laurent Charles (2014). The material was collected in 2013, but may have occurred already for some time on the island; new introductions in a fauna may remain unnoticed if the species is relatively small.


Charles, L., 2014. Signalement de Polygyra cereolus (Megerle von Mühlfeldt, 1816)(Mollusca: Gastropoda: Polygyridae) à la Guadeloupe (Petites-Antilles). – MalaCo 10: 5-6. (Available at

Non-marine molluscs on Saba

Saba is a small island in the Lesser Antilles, currently administrated as ‘overseas municipality’ of the Netherlands. The land snail fauna is known by haphazard collections and scattered publications. Van Leeuwen et al. (2015) have just published a checklist with 27 species of land and freshwater snails that may occur on the island, of which 9 species are new records for Saba.


This is a nice contribution and shows that even a small island in this region still can have malacological surprises.

Leeuwen, S. van, Boeken, M. & Hovestadt, A., 2015. De landslakken van Saba. – Spirula 404: 23-30.

Historical collecting trip to Cuba

Cuba has attracted the attention of shell collectors for a long time already. Only recently a historical account of one of such collecting trips to the island has appeared in three parts in consecutive issues of ‘American Conchologist’ (McGinty 2014, 2015a, b).


This most readable narrative is of a group of five Americans back in 1930, and gives both a nice impression of the situation on the island and the species that still could be collected during these days. The group consisted of three members of the McGinty family (Paul McGinty Sr., Paul McGinty Jr. [who wrote the narrative], Thomas McGinty), Maxwell Smith, and Frederick Barcroft. The story illustrates the hospitality of the Cubans they met, and the beauty of the island.


The group visited several areas in western and central Cuba, and met with Carlos de la Torre, Carlos Aguayo, Pedro Bermudez, and several less well-known Cuban malacologists. They collected lots of shells, among them several Liguus, of which some forms were described as new by Clench.


Finally it should be mentioned that this story would still have rested in archives, if the late Dick Petit had not discovered and transcribed it. The articles were edited for the ‘American Conchologist’ by Emilio F. García and Emily H. Vokes.

McGinty, P.L., 2014. Shell collecting in Cuba. November 1930 [Part 1]. – American Conchologist 42 (4): 4-15.
McGinty, P.L., 2015a. Shell collecting in Cuba. November 1930 – Part 2. – American Conchologist 43 (1): 4-17.
McGinty, P.L., 2015b. Shell collecting in Cuba. November 1930 – Part 3. – American Conchologist 43 (2):

Arnaldo C. dos Santos Coelho (1932-2015)

Arnaldo Campos dos Santos Coelho was born on 15 September 1932. He studied biology at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and entered the Museu Nacional as a student in the early 1950s. After his graduation he became responsible for the Malacology Section as Curator and was the advisor of students in several areas of malacology. During the 1990s he was acting Director of the Museu Nacional. In 1999 he received the title Professor Emeritus of Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. He was a founding member of the Brazilian Society of Zoology (SBZ) and the Brazilian Society of Malacology (SBMa), being President of SBma for several years.

My first visit to Rio de Janeiro was in June 1975, where I met Arnaldo at the Museu. He was a very nice man and we had a good contact. He also took me to the Campus Universidade Federal Rural, where I met Hugo Edison Barboza de Resende and José Luis de Barros Araújo. All three malacologists where actively involved with studies of different species from the Orthalicoidea. I revisited the Museu Nacional in May 1976, and our contacts also lead to joint publications (Breure & dos Santos Coelho, 1976; Araújo & Breure, 1977). Unfortunately, a plan of Arnaldo for some months of joint research in Rio de Janeiro failed to materialize.

foto para quadro

Professor Arnaldo dos Santos Coelho passed away on 7 July 2015.

I am grateful to Alexandre Dias Pimenta (Museu Nacional) for information, and Júlio César Monteiro, who took the photograph above in 2005.

Type material in Rio de Janeiro

In a paper, until now overlooked by me, Pimenta et al. (2014) presented an annotated catalogue of type material in the Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro (MNRJ). It lists types from all molluscan groups, and a total of 518 type lots. Of the terrestrial Gastropoda, 29 taxa belong to the superfamily Orthalicoidea, while eight taxa are representatives of other families.

The abstract reads: “A curatorial revision of the type specimens deposited in the Mollusca Collection of the Museu Nacional / UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (MNRJ) revealed the existence of 518 lots of type specimens (holotypes, neotypes, syntypes and paratypes) for 285 names of molluscan taxa from 88 families, including 247 gastropods, 30 bivalves, three cephalopods and five scaphopods. A total of 106 holotypes and one neotype are deposited in the MNRJ. Type material for ten nominal taxa described as being deposited in the MNRJ was not located; the probable reasons are discussed. Some previously published erroneous information about types in the MNRJ is rectified. A total of 37 type specimens are illustrated”. Land snails illustrated are highlighted in the figure below.

Pimenta et al 2014

The paper corrects several errors made by earlier authors, but also introduces some new inconsistencies. Several species of Bostryx are listed, some assigned to Bulimulidae (correct), others to Orthalicidae (not correct). The phylogenetic study on the Orthalicoidea [Breure & Romero 2012] has not been consulted, and may have lead to several improper family assignments.

Nevertheless, this is an important study and is useful for any malacologist dealing with Neotropical mollusks.

Pimenta, A.D., Monteiro, J.C., Barbosa, A.F., Salgado, N.C. & Coelho, A.C. dos Santos, 2014. Catalogue of the type specimens deposited in the Mollusca Collection of the Museu Nacional / UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. — Zootaxa 3780: 51-107.

Mystery snails again

As reported before, some Bulimulidae can easily become invasive in other areas. The story of the ‘rail riding snail’ in Florida is just one example of this. Today a new case of possible bulimulid expansion out of their home territory came to my notice.

Dr Richard Willan of the Australian Museum and Art gallery of the Northern Territory has recorded since 2000 eleven interceptions of, what seems a possible, bulimulid species. The origin of the containers with which the snails were shipped into Australia was not, however, a South American country. These containers arrived from Singapore, India, China, Thailand and East Timor. This leads to several scenarios: a) this is a quite widespread species, b) this species is highly invasive, c) the snails remained unnoticed in the countries mentioned above and the containers had a South American origin after all, or d) a combination of two or more of the options before.


The pictures show a bulimulid species to me (although others have suggested a member of the Enidae or Cerastidae), possibly a Bulimulus, Bostryx or Rabdotus. A quick study of the protoconch sculpture could reveal at least part of the solution (genus), while additional sequencing should confirm this. The lack of a reference data bank, however, makes it difficult to pin these shells currently down to a specific taxon.

Dr Willan writes “My reason for needing a name is to reinforce the message to the Australian Quarantine authorities that this species is aggressive and opportunistic, and so poses a real quarantine risk to Australia. Clearly it can survive a desiccating environment on shipping containers. This is exactly what the climate of northern Australia is – a monsoon season (which has just stated incidentally) plus a long dry season”.

Undoubtedly to be followed up…