Category Archives: Uncategorized

Deroceras in Mexico

Just published a paper by Araiza-Gómez et al. on the distribution in Mexico and phylogeny of three Deroceras species.

“This study reports the current distribution in Mexico of Deroceras laeve (Müller, 1774) and D. invadens Reise, Hutchinson, Schunack and Schlitt, 2011, both previously recorded, and the first records of D. reticulatum (Müller, 1774) in this country. The taxonomic identifications were made on the basis of morphology and DNA sequences of a fragment of the cytochrome oxidase I gene. A phylogenetic analysis by maximum likelihood was carried out in order to support the identification and to explore the association of Mexican specimens. D. reticulatum and D. invadens appear restricted to the central portion of the country while D. laeve is widely distributed. Due to the invasive and pest character of these species, it is important to know their distribution in the country and the possible risk to native fauna and crops”.

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-20 om 15.58.36

This study used only the CO1 marker and suggests that for D. laeve three subgroups may be distinguished. Further studies using other markers and phylogeographical analyses are suggested in the discussion.

Reference:
Araiza-Gómez, V. et al., 2017. The exotic slugs of the genus Deroceras (Agriolimacidae) in Mexico: Morphological and molecular characterization, and new data on their distribution. – American Malacological Bulletin, 35(2): 126-133.

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WSWH2

This cryptic code refers to the paper ‘World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice’ that appeared yesterday in BioScience.

The authors have been able to mobilise more than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries across the world to endorse this paper, which gives a brief summary of major trends since the first ‘Warning’ in 1992. Still a lot remains to do, and civil-society pressure and evidence-based advocacy is needed to push (political and societal) leadership into sustainability transitions.

Warning-to-Humanity-comp1-web-text

Any scientist that did not sign the article before the BioScience publication deadline, is invited to endorse it now after publication by visiting (scientists.forestry.oregonstate.edu). Therefore, feel free to invite any of your scientist contacts to join in now by signing the article.

The voice of world scientists is essential in driving forward progress on dealing with climate change and other critical environmental trends. Working together, we can make great progress in preserving the biosphere for the sake of humanity.

 

New paper

Recently pressed: a new publication on the tautonyms used by Jousseaume when describing new taxa.

We present a short biography of Félix-Pierre Jousseaume (12 April 1835-3 November 1921) and an addition to his bibliography. He published in total 138 malacological and 21 non-malacological articles or books. In the appendix additional references are listed in comparison with an earlier published preliminary bibliography. Jousseaume received many comments from other malacologists, especially for his tautonyms. Critical remarks from Weinkauff, Tryon, Woodward and Mellvill, and one comment from Jousseaume, are cited.

In total Jousseaume published 28 new species-level taxa as primary, absolute taunonyms (new genus and new species) and 24 secondary ones (22 with a new genus and 2 with a new species name). The virtual tautonyms (with almost identical genus and species names) are not discussed. However, for four taxa of Jousseaume it is unclear if the taxon is a tautonym or a virtual tautonym. In our view the problems were caused by carelessness of Jousseaume. These four taxa are discussed extensively and a conclusion is presented on the correct name. The results are shown in the tables with the original name (invariably the tautonym), source of the original name, and the present view on the taxon with the source and (explanatory) remarks”.

We already received a comment by a colleague who indicated that if Jousseaume intended a tautonym, the correct name should be the tautonym. However, the ICZN Code rules what constitutes a published name and is very strict in allowing an ‘author lapsus’. But we confess we made an oversight and published an ‘a’ where it should have been an ‘e’. As usual in taxonomy the devil is in the details…

Reference:
Gemert, L.J. van & Breure, A.S.H., 2017. The tautonyms of Jousseaume: a taxonomical study. – Folia conchyliologica, 43: 10-19.

Montagu types

Oliver et al. have just published an impressive paper dealing with re-located type material of Colonel George Montagu (1753-1815).

“A complete list of new molluscan taxa introduced by Col. George Montagu (1753–1815) is presented. The available type material of these taxa are itemised and illustrated. The majority are present in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter with a smaller number in the Natural History Museum, London. The historic background of both collections is reviewed with special reference to the many non-British species spuriously introduced into Testacea Britannica and its Supplement”.

I know that locating historical collections doesn’t sound like rocket-science. but in our discipline where ‘every name counts’ it is really very helpful to have type material from our deceased colleagues available for study. And, of course, the further back in time the more difficult it becomes to locate this material and track its provenance.

In the paper also some Neotropical material turned up, quite unexpected for someone who worked on ‘Testacea Britannica’ (i.c. British shells)!

Here is his Helix detrita Montagu, 1803 not Müller, 1774. It proved to be a specimen of Drymaeus elongatus (Röding, 1789), a West Indian species…

Finally, it’s worth repeating here the last lines of their paper: “It is sad to report that those with a knowledge of historic conchology are diminising in numbers and that curatorial expertise throughout the museum sector is threatening the value and access of many collections”.

Reference:
Oliver PG, Morgenroth H, Salvador A (2017) Type specimens of Mollusca described by Col. George Montagu in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter and The Natural History Museum, London. Zoosystematics and Evolution 93(2): 363-412. https://doi.org/10.3897/zse.93.13073

Phylogenetic data Achatinoidea

Phylogenetic studies tend to disrupt often the taxonomic grouping of snails, especially if it combined with anatomical data. Such a study was undertaken by Fontanilla et al. (2017) and a brief paper gives the first results.

This study presents a multi-gene phylogenetic analysis of the Achatinoidea and provides an initial basis for a taxonomic re-evaluation of family level groups within the superfamily. A total of 5028 nucleotides from the nuclear rRNA, actin and histone 3 genes and the 1st and 2nd codon positions of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene were sequenced from 24 species, representing six currently recognised families. Results from maximum likelihood, neighbour joining, maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference trees revealed that, of currently recognised families, only the Achatinidae are monophyletic. For the Ferussaciidae, Ferussacia folliculus fell separately to Cecilioides gokweanus and formed a sister taxon to the rest of the Achatinoidea. For the Coeliaxidae, Coeliaxis blandii and Pyrgina umbilicata did not group together. The Subulinidae was not resolved, with some subulinids clustering with the Coeliaxidae and Thyrophorellidae. Three subfamilies currently included within the Subulinidae based on current taxonomy likewise did not form monophyletic groups”.

It is clear from this publication that within this superfamily further anatomical and molecular studies are needed, the results of which may drastically alter our current systematic treatment of several families in this group.

Reference:
Fontanilla, I.K. et al., 2017. Molecular phylogeny of the Achatinoidea (Mollusca, Gastropoda). – Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 114: 382-385.

Scavenging by macaws

A peculiar observation, already reported in ornithological literature, was repeatedly found in the scavenging of Megalobulimus shells by the Lear’s macaw, Anordorhynchus leari Bonaparte, 1856. The shells were broken and little pieces were eaten, presumable for the uptake of calcium.

The observations were made in northeastern Brazil.

Reference:
Lima, D.M. et al., 2017. Observation on scavenging events on shells of Megalobulimus (Gastropoda: Pulmonata) by Lear’s macaws. – The Festivus, 49(4): 329-331.

Cuban Callonia

The family Urocoptidae is very species-rich in Cuba, and the genus Callonia is but a small representative of this family, albeit very aesthetically. González-Guillén et al. (2017) just published a paper on this group.

Specimens of all western Cuban species of Callonia are illustrated, together with images of live animals and their habitat, followed by comments about recent field work. The putative relationships among species based on the morphological characteristics of last whorl soluteness and rib shape-orientation could be biased. Seemingly ecologic equivalent pairs C.loweiC.dautzenbergiana and C.elliottiC.gemmata are much alike in external appearance although genetic similarities, which have not yet been assessed, could be higher between species sharing the same range. A co-occurrence of Callonia snails with blackish lichen is discussed, raising the inference that Callonia use lichens as food source”.

These ecological observations are worth to be further explored. The putative hypothesis about the relations between the Callonia species can only be verified with molecular analysis.

Many thanks to Gijs Kronenberg for sharing this interesting paper.

Reference:
González-Guillén et al., 2017. Insights on the genus Callonia (Mollusca: Urocoptidae) from Western Cuba. – The Festivus, 49 (4): 332-338.