Monthly Archives: August 2018

New Cuban Cerion

In a not so current journal, a new species of Cerion was just described from Cuba.

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Cerion milerae sp. nov. is described from the type locality Punta Bejuquera, Gibara, Holguín province, Cuba. It is compared conchologicaly with Cerion paucicostatum paucicostatumCerion paucicostatum harringtoni and Cerion caroli aedilii. Anatomically it is compared with Cerion paucicostatum paucicostatum. With its description the number of species known from Cuba is increased to 148 and to 35 the number of species and subspecies known from Holguín province. An extensive survey in the zone showed that Cerion milerae sp. nov. is microlocalized, associated to Bayhops (Ipomoea pes-caprae), in sandy substrate”.

Suárez, A., 2018. Especie nueva de Cerion (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Cerionidae) de Holguín, Cuba. – Novitates Caribaea, 12: 43-48.


When the cure kills

Today something about policy. Often boring and uninteresting (seemingly), but sometimes politicians take decisions which are affecting the work of taxonomists. Therefore the recent paper by Prathapan et al. which appeared in the journal Science is worth mentioning.

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The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) commits its 196 nation parties to conserve biological diversity, use its components sustainably, and share fairly and equitably the benefits from the utilization of genetic resources. This last objective was further codified in the Nagoya Protocol (NP).

The authors state that the NP mechanism seem to work out counter-productive, leading to all sorts of national legislature in biodiverse countries which hamper the study of its biodiversity by biologists. Conservation approaches are very strict and deny that effective conservation also demands the scientific understanding of species. In practice, legislative processes have been tightened in many countries to such extent that biological research has been hampered by permits. Permitting processes are sometimes becoming vulnerable to fraud and corruption, the responsible persons using their for their own benefit and blocking permits to foreign colleagues who are not their favourites. While some South American countries are playing these games and EU-based museum curators adhere strictly to the official rules, it leads to a total stand-still of taxonomic research which needs e.g. live collected animals for molecular study.

The authors, supported by 172 co-signatories from 35 countries, make a strong plea to the CBD to “do more to raise the legal curtain that has fallen between biodiversity scientists and the biodiversity that they strive to discover, document, and conserve”.

Prathapan, K.D. et al., 2018. When the cure kills–CBD limits biodiversity research. – Science, 360 (6396): 1405-1406.

Helicina: anatomical data

Luiz Simone just published a paper on the anatomy of Helicina variabilis, a typical member of the family Helicinidae, which occurs in Brazil.

Helicina variabilis Wagner, 1827 (Neritimorpha, Helicinidae) is redescribed based on a sample collected in Nanuque, northern Minas Gerais, Brazil. The species description, previously based only on the shell, is expanded to the phenotypic features. The study revealed absorption of the internal shell whorls; a diaphragm muscle connected to the floor of the pallial cavity; a monoaulic pallial oviduct, with the female genital aperture inside the anal aperture, and the lack of a seminal receptacle and provaginal sac; and the pleural ganglia of the nerve ring connected with each other. The significance of these findings is discussed in the light of current taxonomic and phylogenetic knowledge”.

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In the discussion of the paper Simone highlights the features that are interesting for the taxonomy of the group. The bursa copulatrix has a branched structure which may be useful in distinguishing different species. Comparisons are being made to related groups such as the Neritidae and to recent studies on the higher systematics of these groups. All in all an excellent paper, especially by the nicely detailed anatomical figures.

Simone, L.R.L., 2018. Phenotypic features of Helicina variabilis (Gastropoda: Neritimorpha) from Minas Gerais, Brazil. – Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, 58: e20185832 (9 pp.).