Monthly Archives: June 2020

New Radiodiscus

Freshly pressed: a paper by Mike Rutherford describing a new species from Trinidad. “Radiodiscus hollidayi, a new species of Charopidae, is described from the island of Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago. The description is based on conchological features alone: a tiny discoid shell with a distinct protoconch with 6–8 cordlets, fine ribs on the teleoconch, and a deep umbilicus. The snail is found in leaf litter and humus in a variety of forest habitats across Trinidad. A table compares a common set of measurements and characters across 27 other species of Radiodiscus“.

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A nice addition to the fauna of Trinidad, which still deserves an updated checklist on which the author is working.

Rutherford, M.G., 2020. A new species of Radiodiscus (Gastropoda: Eupulmonata: Charopidae) from Trinidad and Tobago. – Archiv für Molluskenkunde 149(1): 67-74.

New paper: Pfeiffer bibliography

Just published: the bibliography of Louis Pfeiffer. “Carl Georg Ludwig Pfeiffer (1805–1877) was one of the most productive authors on (mainly non-marine) molluscs during the mid-19th century, describing an estimated 3,000 taxa. As a first step in making his legacy accessible, we present a bibliography of his malacological publications (452 items in total). His serial books and journal publications are listed separately, and we present a collation of the Malakozoologische Blätter and Malakozoologische Blätter: Neue Folge“.

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The next step will be an inventory of all species described from the Cuming collection.

Neubert, E., Breure, A.S.H., Ablett, J.D. & Bank, R.A., 2020. The malacological contributions of Louis Carl Georg Pfeiffer (1805–1877): a bibliography, with a collation of the publication dates of the Malakozoologische Blätter. – Archiv für Molluskenkunde 149(1): 75-102.

Exotic non-marine species of Hispaniola

Just published by Agudo-Padrón is a paper on introduced non-marine species on the island of Hispaniola.

With the invaluable participatory assistance and support of local researchers, naturalists and collaborating field informants, Project AM has been developing modest taxonomic, bioecological and conservation research on the “non-marine alien molluscs” present in the Caribbean island territory of the “La Española” (Hispaniola), with special emphasis on non-native species introduced (intentional or accidentally) into their environment, so far a general total of 36 terrestrial and freshwater species (34 gastropods & 2 bivalves) have been inventoried, included in 31 genera and 21 families“.

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There is no summarising table and I spotted two dubious records: Bulimulus diaphanus and Bulimulus guadalupensis are both listed as introduced, based on a reference and record from a museum [Refs.: FMNH (s/d a); Grego & Steffec (2006: 13)]. In my 1974 paper on Bulimulus I already showed that both species have been reported on the island based on historical records, hence the listing as exotics without further sound evidence seems unwarranted.

Agudo-Padrón, I., 2020. Moluscos exóticos no marinos “introducidos” en la isla caribeña de La Española (Hispaniola), Grandes Antillas: una aproximación a su conocimiento. Revista Minerva (San Salvador) 3(1): 129-138.


Forming a species name

While this is food for few, the subject may be interesting enough for those who find it cumbersome to dig through the rules of the ICZN Code when they need to name a new taxon. Vendetti & Garland has just published a practical guide, stating “The formation of scientific names for species may be challenging for modern systematists without a background in Latin or familiarity with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Therefore, presented here are 10 pragmatic and simplified strategies for creating zoological species names. They are intended to demystify the derivation and construction of species names and facilitate the process of naming species for a broad audience of zoologists working in systematics”.

Their 10 strategies are the following:
1. As a Latin singular or plural noun in the genitive case;
2. As a Latin singular present participle active (PPA) in the nominative case;
3. As a Latin singular noun in the nominative case used in apposition;
4. As a non-Latin singular noun used in apposition;
5. Named after a person or persons, as a Latin singular or plural noun in the genitive case;
6. As a Latin singular adjective in the nominative case;
7. As a Latin singular perfect passive participle (PPP) in the nominative case;
8. For a geographic name, as a Latin singular adjective in the nominative case;
9. As compound word composed of Latin + Latin, Greek + Latin, or Greek + Greek word elements;
10. As an arbitrary combination of letters, singular or plural.

For each strategy they provide a clear explanation with examples from different phyla, and a practical application. In several cases with further examples, like this:

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Although it requires some sensitivity for linguistics, the overall impression is that with this paper naming a new taxon is do-able, even for those who did not have classes Latin and Greek at school. In this context I also like to draw attention to the paper ‘A name is a  name is a name’ by Peter Dance, who offers 19 additional viewpoints to naming a species.

Dance, S.P., 2009. A name is a name is a name: some thoughts and personal opinions about molluscan scientific names. Zoologische Mededelingen Leiden 83(7): 565-576.
Vendetti, J.E. & Garland, R., 2020. Species name formation for zoologists: a pragmatic approach, Journal of Natural History 53(47-48): 2999-3018.


Annulariid phylogenetics

A recent paper by Watters et al. gives important insight in the relation of a group from the Annulariidae. Their abstract is as follows: “The subfamily Abbottellinae of the Annulariidae has been recognized as a speciose group in northern Hispaniola. This study, using phylogenetic (COI, 12S, H3), radular, and conchological characteristics, compared this group to other non-Hispaniolan annulariids to determine their wider associations and potential origin. Results indicate that the subfamily is related to the eastern Cuban Annularisca sensu lato and that genus should be moved to the Abbottellinae. The group dates from the time when eastern Cuba and northern Hispaniola were in close contact prior to tectonic movement. This is the first such zoo- geographic connection reported for the family. The subfamily is not related to any Jamaican taxa tested. The Abbottellinae also do not occur on the southern Tiburon/Barahona peninsulas of Hispaniola, which has a different geologic history from the north. The eastern Cuban and Bahamian genus Opisthosiphon sensu lato was also shown to be a member of the subfamily. The nominal genus Abbottella is further divided into new genera based on these results. The new genera Abbottipoma, Arenabbottella, Microabbottella, and Preclaripoma are described. The new species Rolleia simonaikeni is described, and Petasipoma is synonomized with Rolleia.“.

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Another paper from this very productive lab, of which its leading figure Tom Watters recently died. It shows how the molecules combined with the external morphology presents new insights in the taxonomy of a group and also elucidates the evolution and relationships with other Annulariids.

Watters, G.T. et al., 2020. The subfamily Abbottellinae (Gastropoda: Annulariidae): origins, associations, and a review of the Hispaniolan taxa. – The Nautilus 134(1): 1-34.

Variability of Bostryx

Miranda published new data on the anatomy and shell shape variability of a Bostryx species. Her abstract reads as follows:
Introduction: The gastropod Bostryx torallyi shows high variability in shell shape and coloration. Subspecies of this organism have been described based on shell characters but, since they were slightly different, they were synonymized afterwards. Until now, shell variability has been analyzed only descriptively and its anatomy is still unknown.
Objective: In this study, I provide anatomical information of B. torallyi and apply a geometric morphometric analysis to evaluate the shell shape variation among specimens.
Methods: To accomplish this, type material and numerous lots were examined and dissected out. Additionally, relative warp analysis, based on 9 landmarks in ventral view of the shell, was performed using 80 specimens of 9 localities from Bolivia and Argentina.
Results: According to our results, geometric morphometrics is a suitable method to evaluate differences in shell shape among localities; for instance, distinctions in the shell were noticeable between gastropods of low and high altitudes. On the other hand, it was established that the coloration of this species is independent of large-scale factors since the examined specimens came from environments with similar conditions. Furthermore, the sculpture of the protoconch and anatomy of B. torallyi coincided with the other Argentinian species of the genus.
Conclusions: Therefore, I concluded that a geometric morphometric analysis of shell shape is a good complement to traditional qualitative description of the characteristics of the shell in this species

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As this study shows, Bostryx species can be very variable in their shell shape and colouration, with their anatomy still being the same. The study indicated that altitude is possibly related to the shell shape, but this needs confirmation from material sampled in the wider distribution area.

Miranda, M.J., 2020. Anatomy and shell shape variability in a land snail Bostryx torallyi (Stylommatophora: Bulimulidae). – Revista de Biologia Tropical 68(1): 218-229.

Defecation behaviour

A short research note was recently published by Carvalho & Oliveira. It is about the defecation behaviour of a terrestrial snail from Brazil, Cochlorina aurisleporis (Bruguière, 1792).

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After noting the overall scarcity of data in literature on this behaviour in many animals, the authors describe the process in this arboreal snail, which uses it muscles to form a more or less spherical pellet and finally drops the pellet onto the substrate beneath. They suggest as hypothesis to explain this behaviour that it may be a strategy to prevent detection by chemically oriented predators. Although this hypothesis is interesting, it would need further testing in the field. For a start, the predators of this species are unknown as the biology of Neotropical land snails is hardly documented in literature. The authors also made a statement its distribution, viz. “a purported (and unexpected) disjunct distribution”, being known from Madagascar and Brazil. It is simply based on an erroneous original locality in Bruguière (in the 18th and 19th century species were often described based on material collected by others and many times with vague, imprecise or even erroneous localities). Cochlorina aurileporis is purely a Brazilian species; it is unfortunate that the reviewers have overlooked this.

Carvalho de Lima, T. & Oliveira, C.D. de Castro, 2020. Unusual shaping: The defacation bahavior in Cochlorina aurisleporis (Bruguière, 1792) (Gastropoda: Bulimulidae). – The Nautilus 134(1): 57-59.

Range extension of Bradybaena

Serniotti et al. recently published a new paper on the malacofauna of Argentina. “The Asian tramp snail Bradybaena similaris (Férussac, 1822) is an exotic mollusk native to Southeast Asia. The species has been catalogued as invasive in several countries and is important to human health, animal health, and agriculture. We report for the first time the presence of B. similaris in Córdoba Province, Argentina, extending the southern distribution of the species in this country and in South America. Anatomical, conchological, and molecular information obtained here represent the second contribution for this species in Argentina“.

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This paper presents integrative data about this species, with a list of GenBank records for  sequences from Argentina and have traced the transport of ornamental plants or organic compost within the country as the most probable source of the dispersal of this species.

Serniotti, E.N. et al., 2020. New record and range extension of Bradybaena similaris (Férussac, 1822) (Gastropoda, Camaenidae) in Argentina. – CheckList 16(1): 211-217.

Three short papers on Cuban land snails

While checking the site of the journal Poeyana, I found three short papers published last year: an area inventory (Franke & Fernandez), and two papers of Cerionidae (Suarez & Hernandez respectively de Armas).

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Abstract: Land snails of the Cerro de Yaguajay, Banes, Holguin. This paper provides information on the land snails of Cerro de Yaguajay, Banes. We account 22 species included in three orders and 17 families. The more represented families were Cepolidae and Helicinidae with five and four species respectively. The endemism was 84% and four threatened species were registered: Emoda blanesi, Eutrochatella (Microviana) spinopoma, Idiostemma alfredoi and Polymita muscarum. The 50% of the species inhabit at ground level, between leaf litter and rocks. The results provided data about the values of Cerro de Yaguajay as a regional site for conservation of land snails“.

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Abstract: Radula teratology of Cerion politum maisianum (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Cerionidae). A case of teratology is reported in the radula of a specimen of Cerion politum maisianum, an endemic mollusc species from Punta de Maisí, Guantánamo. The photograph of the dental cusps of a whole row of radular teeth taken at 400x magnification is shown, where the malformation is observed“.

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Abstract: Correction to the original spelling of Cerion milerae Suárez, 2018 (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Cerionidae). It is demonstrated that the original spelling of Cerion milerae Suárez, 2018, is incorrect, because it was dedicate to a man, not to a woman, and for this reason it is corrected as Cerion milerai Suárez, 2018, nomen emended, in accordance with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature in effect. A map with the distribution of this species is also given“.

Armas, L.F. de, 2019. Corrección a la grafía original de Cerion milerae Suárez, 2018 (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Cerionidae). – Poeyana 508: 44-45.
Franke, S. & Fernández V., A., 2019. 
Moluscos terrestres del cerro de Yaguajay, Banes, Holguín. – Poeyana 509: 14-17.
Suárez T., A. & Hernández C., I., 2019. 
Teratología en rádula de Cerion politum maisianum (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Cerionidae). – Poeyana 508: 42-43.