Monthly Archives: December 2015

A paper published and another still not yet

A long-awaited paper has finally been published in another outlet. Originally submitted to the Naturalis museum journal Zoologische Mededelingen, my paper on snails in visual arts has now appeared in Basteria, the scientific journal of the Netherlands Malacological Society. The paper summarizes the results on my last year’s project to take a look on snails in art.

Schermafbeelding 2015-12-29 om 10.12.19

The link to the full paper can be found on my publications page.

Another paper was simultaneously submitted to Zoologische Mededelingen in October 2014. After much editorial delay it was accepted and said to be in press. I expected the proof before the end of the year, but during Christmas I received an email from Naturalis management that they had decided to end the journal. Papers in press are supposed to be re-submitted elsewhere. A quite surprising and annoying notice to end the year…


The ‘Demange drawings’

Working in the Dautzenberg archives in Brussels, I also found documents from the late Arthur Bavay (1840-1923). One of the documents was a folder ‘Notes sur l’Indo-China’, containing manuscript notes on new species descriptions (as far as I could see all published in Journal de Conchyliologie), some correspondence and a envelop with drawings.


The envelop appeared to be sent in 1908 by Victor Demange, who was a trader of French origin located in Hanoi (then French Indo-China). The drawings that were contained inside, had been made by an anonymous local draftsman (‘le desinnateur ammanite’) and show living snails. Quite unusual for this time, so worth some to share here.



This is also my Season’s Greetings for this year.

Photo of the day (165): Naesiotus

Andrew Kraemer, postdoc at Idaho University, is studying land snails belonging to “the most species-rich group of animals in the Galapagos, the snail genus Naesiotus”. He posted several beautiful pictures on his blog, and Flickr pages, some of which I here reproduce to share them with you.


Naesiotus cf. perrus (Dall, 1917), Fernandina


Naesiotus cf. pallidus (Reibisch, 1892), Isabela


Naesiotus eos (Odhner, 1951), Santa Cruz


Naesiotus tortuganus (Dall, 1893), Isabela


Naesiotus ochseni (Dall, 1917), Santa Cruz


Naesiotus asperatus (Albers, 1857), Floreana


Naesiotus rabidensis (Dall, 1917), Rabida


Naesiotus nux (Broderip, 1832), Floreana


Naesiotus unifasciatus (Reibisch, 1892), Floreana

And of course, this is but a small part of the total number of snail species in this archipelago. For background information on the diversification, see Parent & Crespi (2006), who erroneously used a different genus name.

Parent, C.E. & Crespi, B.J. (2006). Sequential colonization and diversification of Galapagos land snail genus Bulimulus (Gastropoda, Stylommatophora). – Evolution 60: 2311-2328.

Sparnotion revisited

Some time ago I made a post about the subgenus Plekocheilus (Sparnotion) Pilsbry, 1944, with the type species P. (S.) hauxwelli (Crosse, 1872) as sole representative. At that time only one specimen was known from this taxon.

Thanks to Graham Oliver I was able to see another specimen, which he encountered in the Linter collection. Although the locality simply states “Peru”, there is no doubt about its identification. Compared to the paratype in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge (Mass.), this specimen has all characteristics that were present in the lost holotype.

hauxwelli apert hauxwelli dors hauxwelli surface

Although there seems a strange twist with this species, sharing most characteristics with Plekocheilus (Eudolichotis) and one—finely zigzag hydrophanous lines on the surface—with Plekocheilus (Aeropictus), I still feel this insufficient for recognizing a separate, monotypic subgenus for this species. So I stick to my conclusion “based on the shell morphology alone we conclude that this species may be best classified as P. (Eudolichotis) hauxwelli untill more material, hopefully allowing for anatomical and molecular studies, becomes available”.

I am very grateful to Graham Oliver for sending me the information and snapshots of this shell.

The importance of historical collections

During the 19th century several amateur conchologists have made interesting collections which – after their death – have either been donated to museums, been auctioned or sold, or have disappeared. Often their fate has not been well documented.

One of these 19th century collectors was Miss Janet E. Linter (1844-1909), who lived in Twickenham near London. Hardly anything is known about this lady-conchologist (a rare combination during her time), with only two very brief death notices being published after her death (Anonymous, 1909; E.A. Smith, 1910). Smith remarked that she had been a member of the Malacological Society of London since 1895, and added “of a retiring disposition Miss Linter did not attend the meetings of the Society, and consequently was not known personally to many of the members. She was, however, an enthusiastic collector, and her cabinets contained very many rare and interesting species, more especially of land shells. Many of these came from the collections made in India by W. Theobald and Colonel Skinner”.
Tomlin (1949) mentioned that her collection was sold in 1909; Dance (1966) listed her collection as being in the Exeter museum.

I came across her name several times. First, G.B. Sowerby III gave her an eponym in 1890 by describing Bulimus fulminates linterae from Mount Roraima on the border of Venezuela and Guyana [now Plekocheilus (P.) linterae]. It is likely that he knew this lady personally and saw her collection. Furthermore she was a correspondent of Dautzenberg and received many reprints of his papers (Breure, 2015; Breure, unpublished data). The obituary in The Nautilus signals she was well-known among American conchologists too.

linter coll copy

Last week I received some messages from Graham Oliver (Cardiff Museum), who visited the museum in Exeter and inspected the Linter collection, which is still kept separate. He wrote “Her shells seem in very good condition and from many rather unusual places. (…) This collection is rather large and primarily of land snails for all over the world. There are significant holdings from Pacific Islands, S. America, India, Africa and Australasia. She began by acquiring the Skinner and Theobald collections so very strong in Indian subcontinent material. (…) The collection has been in Exeter since 1902!”. He asked for my opinion about the South American part of the Linter collection, containing over 400 lots. I noticed several rare species, one of which  is very interesting for a work in progress; more about it in a next post.

Finally, it is interesting that Graham noticed on one of the labels the price Miss Linter paid for a shell during an auction: “One [label] indicates that she bought shells from the Barclay sale and paid high prices, £4 for a large cyclophorid in the 1880/90s was a lot of money then”.

barclay label

This case demonstrates again that it is worthwhile to document the history of collections and collectors.

Anonymous (1909). Miss J.E. Linter. – The Nautilus 23: 84.
Breure, A.S.H. (2015). The malacological handwritings in the autograph collection of the Ph. Dautzenberg archives, Brussels. – Folia conchyliologica 33: 1–111.
Dance, S.P. (1966). Shell collecting, an illustrated history: 1–344. University of California Press, Berkeley/Los Angeles.
Smith, E.A. (1910). Obituary notice  – Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 9: 89.
Tomlin, J.R. le B. (1949). Shell sales, VI. – Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 27: 254.

Photo of the day (164): Drymaeus and Cerion

The ‘Speurneuzen’ on the island of Curacao, on their weekly trips, have supplied some living snail pictures again. This trip was to the former estate of Zorgvliet in Christoffel nature park, and due to some rain during the start of their trip, snails awoke from their hibernating stage.

Intel(R) IPP JPEG encoder [7.1.37466] - Sep 25 2012;

This is Drymaeus elongatus.

12 Een gezellige boel - foto Carel13 Junior gaat er van door - fto Carel

These pictures are of Cerion uva.

Many thanks again to Fred Mendez Chumaceiro and Carel de Haseth for photographing them, and to Francois van der Hoeven for sharing them.