Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bourguignat letters

A new paper was just published which sheds some light on the controversy between Bourguignat and Crosse during the last half of the 19th century. This is a publication of the project on the history of European malacology.

Reference:
Audibert, C., Backhuys, W. & Breure, A.S.H., 2017. ‘Une petite histoire malacologique’: two letters from Bourguignat to Crosse, or a story of friction between malacologists. – Journal of Conchology, 42: 407–411.

Petit de la Saussaye

Just published: a study about Petit de la Saussaye, the founder of the Journal de conchyliologie in 1850. The paper gives a short biography, his bibliography, a list of his described taxa and some of his correspondence that was found in an archive.

Reference:
Breure, A.S.H. & Backhuys, W., 2017. Sauveur Abel Aubert Petit de la Saussaye (1792–1870), his malacological work and taxa, with notes on his correspondence. – Archiv für Molluskenkunde, 146: 71-96.

New Scutalus from Chile

Freshly published: a paper with the description of a new species from northern Chile. The species, of which only shells were collected, is tentatively assigned to the genus Scutalus. This genus is hitherto not recognised in Chile, but occurs more northern in the coastal area of Peru.

The abstract reads “A new species of Scutalus Albers, 1850 (Gastropoda: Bulimulidae), Scutalus chango sp. n., is described from a coastal area of northern Chile. Empty shells of this new species were found buried in sand and under boulders and rocks in the foothills of the Chilean Coastal Range at Paposo, Región de Antofagasta. This new species is distinguished from all other Chilean terrestrial snails by its slender shell with a flared and reflected aperture, and by the presence of a columellar fold. This is the first record of Scutalus in Chile, and the southernmost record for this endemic South American bulimulid genus. The presence of this species in Paposo highlights the need for further research and for conservation guidelines in coastal areas of northern Chile, which have comparatively high levels of biodiversity and endemism”.

Reference:
Araya, J.F. & Breure, A.S.H., 2017. A new terrestrial snail species (Gastropoda: Bulimulidae) from the Región de Antofagasta, northern Chile.  PeerJ 5: e3538 (11 p.).

New papers

Incidentally two new papers were published this weekend, both on historical malacology. One of on Henri Martel (1846-1927). “The “correspondence conchyliologique adressée à Henri Martel” is preserved in the Dautzenberg archives. This resource gives a good picture of the contact network of this amateur, who was mainly active after his retirement from military service. Summaries are given of the letters which were sent to Martel by Bavay, Dautzenberg, and Pallary”.

The second paper deals with the contributions of Baudon: “Biographical data is presented about Auguste Adolphe Baudon (1821-1905), together with a bibliography of his malacological works. His new taxa, both Recent and fossil, are listed, as well as eponyms dedicated to him. His network of scientific contacts has been reconstructed from his papers and his correspondence archive, for which an overview is presented listing his correspondents, the time period and the number of letters”.

References:
Breure, A.S.H., 2017. ’Mon cher Colonel’: The conchological correspondence of Henri Martel (1846-1927) in the Ph. Dautzenberg archives, Brussels. – Folia conchyliologica, 39: 9-20.
Breure, A.S.H. & Moolenbeek, R.G., 2017. Auguste Adolphe Baudon (1821-1905): his malacological works and taxa, and his correspondence archive. – Folia conchyliologica, 39: 21-32.

 

Philippi and his malacological contribution

Just published in the latest issue of the journal Malacologia: two papers authored by Coan and Kabat on the life of Rudolph Amandus Philippi (1808-1904) and his contributions to malacology.

This paper provides a biography of Rudolph Amandus Philippi (1808–1904), emphasizing his malacological research and his contributions to the natural history of Chile. Philippi is one of the most important, yet overlooked malacologists of the 19th century. He authored significant publications on the Recent and fossil molluscs of Sicily; the Oligocene fossil molluscs of northern Germany; the Jurassic to Recent molluscs of Chile, and marine molluscs from around the world. Philippi was also an instrumental contributor to both the Zeitschrift für Malakozoologie and the second edition of the Systematisches Conchylien-Cabinet, and he founded the Abbildungen und Beschreibungen neuer oder wenig gekannter Conchylien”.

Rudolph Amandus Philippi (known in Chile as Rodulfo Amando Philippi), was one of the longest-lived and most prolific malacologists of the 19th century, as his scientific work began in Germany in the 1830s and continued unabated until his death in Chile in 1904. Philippi contributed significantly to malacology: he described over 2,500 new taxa of Recent and fossil molluscs from around the world (2,528 species, 40 genera and three families), particularly from Italy and Chile, and discussed numerous taxa described by other authors. Philippi initially published primarily on Recent and fossil molluscs from Europe in the 1830s, then expanded to marine molluscs from around the world by the 1840s. In 1851, Philippi escaped the German Revolution by emigrating to Chile, where in 1853 he became the director of what is now the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (Santiago) and a professor at the Universidad de Chile. Philippi’s contributions to malacology after his move to Chile were primarily on the fossil molluscs of Chile. Philippi also made significant contributions to the systematics of numerous other animal taxa as well as in botany. In a companion paper (Kabat & Coan, 2017), we provide an analysis of Philippi’s life and scientific contributions. This paper catalogs Philippi’s malacological publications and taxa”.

The authors undoubtedly have made a grand effort to bring Philippi to life, both in uncovering some unknown or obscure aspects about his life, and by bringing together a insightful review of his malacological legacy.

References:
Coan, E.V. & Kabat, A.R., 2017. The Malacological Contributions of Rudolph Amandus Philippi (1808–1904). – Malacologia, 60(1–2):31-322.
Kabat, A.R. & Coan, E.V., 2017. The Life and Work of Rudolph Amandus Philippi (1808–1904). – Malacologia, 60(1–2):1-30.

Pinning down Tenuistemma

Under this (beginning of the) title, Uit de Weerd & Fernández has just made available a paper on the distribution and relationships of an Urocopitid species from eastern Cuba.

We report an extraordinary case of local and extreme shell-morphological differentiation within a group of otherwise relatively uniform eastern Cuban land snails. Analyses of multi-copy nuclear (ITS2) and of mitochondrial (COI) DNA sequences congruently place the ‘genus’ Tenuistemma, occurring monotypically on the Yunque de Baracoa mountain in eastern Cuba, within the more wide-spread species Pleurostemma perplicata from adjacent lower areas. This result is in sharp contrast with patterns of variation in supposedly diagnostic shell-morphological characters, namely (1) differences in both shell form and shell sculpture between Tenuistemma and P. perplicata, (2) the shell- morphological coherence of paraphyletic P. perplicata and (3) the resemblance between P. perplicata and phylogenetically and geographically more distant species placed in Pleurostemma. We conclude that Tenuistemma evolved from P. perplicata on the Yunque de Baracoa, a process that probably started between 0.01 and 1.42 million years ago. The remarkable set of shell features distinguishing Tenuistemma from P. perplicata probably evolved as a result of unique local selection pressures, possibly affecting multiple characters linked in shell development. This study provides a basis for further research into the evolutionary processes behind this remarkable morphological transition. To render the genus Pleurostemma monophyletic, we propose to transfer P. perplicata to the genus Tenuistemma”.

This research is interesting as it hypothesises on the local evolution of snails under different factors. As such there is a link to research on carinated species, of which a paper on Peruvian Bostryx is currently being prepared.

Reference:
Uit de Weerd, D.R. & Fernández V., A., 2017. Pinning down Tenuistemma (Pulmonata: Urocoptidae): local evolution of an extreme shell type. – Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, XX: 1-12. DOI: 10.1093/biolinnean/blx041

A ritual link to snail invaders

Vazquez et al. (2017) recently published interesting research related to invasions. Their abstract reads as follows “The giant African snail, Lissachatina fulica, is considered one of the most invasive species worldwide, acting as a crop pest and diseases vector. It was first detected in Cuba in 2014 and is dispersing throughout Havana. We mapped 34 sites in the vicinity of Havana to assess its spread and analysed ecological (forestation and humidity) and anthropogenic (pollution and religious sites) factors in relation to the presence/absence of the snails using multivariate correspondence analysis. There were 14 sites at which the snail was present and where religious rituals of the Yoruba creed, an African rooted religion, were observed. No other variables showed significant relationships. This indicates that the rituals may be a major factor in the dispersal of the snail in Havana and more widely in Cuba. In light of this an outreach program with key Yoruba leaders may help in slowing the dispersal of the snail within Cuba, once the threats posed by this species are known”.

Reading through their paper I noticed that there may be also a ritual origin of the introduction of this snail in Florida, while there are indications that something similar maybe at stake in Brazil. Perhaps time for an ethnobiological approach complementary to the usual eradication schemes? Eradication without taking the driving force away behind the spread of this snail may simply not be sufficient.

Reference:
Vazquez, A.,  Sanchez, J., Martinez, E. & Alba, A., 2017. Facilitated invasion of an overseas invader: human mediated settlement and expansion of the giant African snail, Lissachatina fulica, in Cuba. – Biological Invasions, 19 (1):1-4.