Monthly Archives: April 2019

New Cuban species

A while ago (December 2017) Espinosa et al. published a paper which only now surfaced. Its abstract is extremely short, even not mentioning the names of the new species they described. “A commented and illustrated catalog of 37 land an freshwater mollusks species from Cupeyal del Norte, Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, Guantánamo, Cuba, is presented, 18 of them are new records to the park and 8 are described as new species, and data’s about others land mollusks species of the Park are included”.

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The new taxa introduced are:

[Helicinidae:] Emoda poeyana

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[Annulariidae:] Diplopoma (Subannularia) mucaralense

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Annularisca (Annularella) haylerae

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[Urocoptidae:] Arangia humboldtiana

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Carcinostemma silvai

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[Achatinidae:] Obeliscus (Stenogyra) diegoi

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[Cepolidae:] Coryda thierryi

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Coryda carabelloi

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Espinosa J., Herrera-Uría J. & Ortea J., 2017. Moluscos terrestres y fluviales del Sector Cupeyal del Norte, Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt, Guantánamo, Cuba, con la descripción de nuevas especies. – Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias, 29: 61-110.


New records for Brazilian Helicina

A new paper just appeared by Silva et al. “New records for Helicina schereri Baker, 1913, are reported. It was a species previously restricted to the states of Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Alagoas and Tocantins in Northeastern Brazil, and State of Santa Catarina, much further south. The new occurrences reported herein fill distribution gaps and also significantly expand the range of the species ca. 970 km westwards. The new records are from the following locations: Bahia State (Ituaçu and Itaquara municipalities) in Northeast Brazil; Mato Grosso do Sul State (Bonito Municipality) in the Midwest; and Minas Gerais (Lagoa Santa municipality) in the Southeast”.

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Silva, F. dos Santos et al., 2019. New records of Helicina schereri (Gastropoda: Helicinidae) from the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais, and Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. – Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, 59: e20195903 (3 pp.).

Ecology and conservation of Plectostylus

A recent paper by Barahona-Segovia et al. discusses the details of the ecology of a Chilean Plectostylus species. Their abstract is “Terrestrial mollusks are one of the least studied groups of terrestrial invertebrates, especially in the Neotropics. In Chile, there is scarce biological and ecological information about many genera, even though the group is quite diverse and occupies different habitats along the country. Plectostylus araucanus is the most recently described species and one of the few arboreal species found only in the coastal native forest of central-south of Chile. In this study, we recorded a new locality for P. araucanus in the del Maule Region and described ecological and physiological characteristics. The new locality is placed 204 km northwards of the type locality. Based on different records, Plectostylus araucanus is proposed as an endangered (EN) species under the distribution criterion of IUCN. Most of the specimens of P. araucanus were found living in tree cavities and away from the edge of native forest fragments. Physiological measures showed monthly differences, especially between some months of summer and fall and between months of the same season (i.e., summer). We discuss the implications of our results in the microhabitat selection, thermoregulation and habitat use by this tree snail, and the importance of this data in management and conservation for other native malacofauna”.

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This is an interesting study, as detailed ecological research on Neotropical snails is scarce and the available data gives a very partial view on the requirements of the malacofauna; the handles for conservation management are thus also extremely limited, which is a concern with the increasing threats of anthropogenic influences.

Barahona-Segovia, R.M. et al., 2019. Shelter, ecophysiology and conservation status of Plectostylus araucanus (Pulmonata: Bothriembryontidae) in the fragmented Bosque Maulino, central Chile. – Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad, 90: e902703 (12 pp.).

Megalobulimus in Brazil

A short paper by Fontanelle et al. just appeared on one of the Brazilian species of this genus. “The taxonomical status of Megalobulimus toriii Morretes, 1937 from southeastern Brazil is reassessed herein. A large series of shells of M. toriii and M. yporanganus (Ihering & Pilsbry, 1901) were analysed for conchological features and measured for a principal component analysis. The material included recent shells and sub-fossil specimens (no living specimens or ethanol-preserved specimens could be procured). Megalobulimus toriii falls within the spectrum of morphological variation of M. yporanganus and is thus considered its synonym. Megalobulimus yporanganus was originally described from the Ribeira Valley in São Paulo state and its present distribution includes only other localities in this valley. However, the species is also known from Holocene archaeological contexts (shell mounds) and karst outcrops, with the oldest records dating from circa 10,800–9,200 YBP. Its past distribution extended southwards to the coast of Santa Catarina state”.

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Fontanelle, J.H. et al., 2019. Taxonomic reassessment of Megalobulimus toriii (Gastropoda, Strophocheilidae). – Journal of Conchology, 43 (3): 313-320.

Land snail holotypes in the IES, Havana

More and more institutions are making their holdings of type material available, either through publications or on the web. This is very useful as it greatly helps researchers to find the original material which may be needed for comparison.

Hernández Q. et al. have recently made an addition. “We present the first list of holotypes of terrestrial molluscs housed in the collection of the Institute of Ecology and Systematics, Cuba. The majority of holotype specimens come from collections belonging to Miguel L. Jaume, Oscar L. Alcalde, Alfredo de la Torre and Raúl P. Guitar. The type material of the collection has 66 taxa including species and subspecies. The genera represented in this type collection are Liguus, Farcimen, Cerion, Cryptelasmus, Idiostemma, Cubadamsiella and Opisthosiphon”.

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Although it is unfortunate that no pictures of these holotypes are included, which would eliminate the need for (possibly difficult) inquiries, the listing may be applauded as a first step.

Hernández Q., M, et al., 2018. Catalogue of holotypes of terrestrial molluscs (Mollusca, Gastropoda) of the Institute of Ecology and Systematics, Havana, Cuba. – Poeyana, 507: 44-49.

Snails as snake prey

Several snake species are known to prey on molluscs, and in the Neotropics some examples are already known; e.g., in the recent book on Belizan land snails by Dourson et al. pictures are given of Sibon species consuming a Drymaeus.

By serendipity I found a paper by Sazima & Muscat (2016) on Dipsas snakes in Brazil, which are known to feed on snails and slugs. The first author had reported in the past about the challenges that these molluscs offer to their predator. Snails must be removed from their shell and slugs release plenty of mucus, making snail handling time-consuming and handling slugs poses the risk of sticking to the substratum. Most observations are based on laboratory conditions, but this paper describes how newly hatched snakes are feeding on snails under natural conditions.

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The (unwilling) victims in these cases were respectively Bulimulus tenuissimus (d’Orbigny, 1835) and Helicina angulata G.B. Sowerby, 1873. Both observations were made in Sao Paulo state in different forests.

Sazima, I. & Muscat, E., 2016. Shelled baby food: Newly hatched goo‐eating snakes of the genus Dipsas (Squamata: Dipsadidae) prey on snails in nature. – Herpetologia Brasileira, 5 (3): 63-64. 

New Idiostemma from Cuba

It is described the new species Idiostemma frankei into the subgenus Maceo Pilsbry & Vanatta 1898, with type locality at Farallones de Moa, on the northeastern region of Holguín province. For diagnosis were used conchological characters, that make it different from the rest of species into this genus because have whorls almost flattened or plane and semitransparent, with fine ribs on surface of shell. Columella with well-developed lamellae on “S” form, ornamented by ribs like cords that crossing on upper part on both side of the wall, give striated appearance”.

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The holotype is in the Instituto de Ecologia y Sistemática, CZACC8.1.302.

Fernández, A. & Suárez, A., 2018. New species of Idiostemma Pilsbry & Vanatta, 1898 (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Urocoptidae) from the eastern Cuban region. – Poeyana, 507: 40-43.