Tag Archives: argentina

Invasive apple snails

This time not a terrestrial but a freshwater topic: apple snails, or the family Ampullariidae.
Joshi et al. have just published a book on the biology and management of invasive species of this group. The book contains 22 chapters, divided into three themes: General aspects of apple snail biology, Country specific reports, and Management and use.

In the second section two chapters deal with Pomacea canaliculata respectively in Argentina and Ecuador.

The Argentinan chapter is written by P.R. Martin et al., the abstract reads “Pomacea canaliculata is in many respects the best known species of apple snails (family Ampullariidae), although the available information is both fragmentary and geographically biased. Most studies in its non-native range have focused on applied aspects in managed or arti cial wetlands in various countries in Southeast Asia. In its natural range the emphasis has been on basic studies of its reproductive biology, ecology and behaviour in populations from small streams at the southernmost extreme of its distribution (Southern Pampas, Argentina). The extreme geographic position and the lotic nature of these populations may have biased some conclusions about the behavioural and ecological traits of P. canaliculata; contemporary evolution and genetic exchange may also have diversi ed these traits in the non-native range. Even though the ecological information from native populations may not be directly applicable elsewhere, it nevertheless remains as a necessary reference to understand the full potential of adaptation and spread of P. canaliculata to new environments around the world. Surprisingly enough, comparative studies of native and non-native populations of Pomacea spp. are almost lacking. This short review focuses on the distribution, thermal biology, aerial respiration, feeding, reproduction, phenotypic plasticity and shell shape of Pomacea canaliculata in its native range in Argentina.

The Ecuadorian chapter is M. Correoso et al.; the abstract is “This article characterises and analyses the presence of the alien invasive species Pomacea canaliculata in Ecuador, a pest present in many countries that has severe impacts on agriculture, human health and the natural environment. For the rst time, a list of the native species of the genus Pomacea in Ecuador is provided, as well as an occurrence map, based on review of existing (but few) bibliographic data, museum collections and recent eld work. There is a lack of information on other mollusc species in Ecuador, but there is the potential for ecological impact of P. canaliculata on the native mollusc fauna, especially other Pomacea species, which may already be in decline. Other biological threats and consequences are considered, highlighting the impacts that the invasion has had in this Andean country. Also, events that have occurred since the detection of the pest are reviewed, in particular, the decisions adopted by the rice agricultural sector in comparison with those reported by other countries facing a similar situation. The epidemiological role of P. canaliculata in Ecuador is analysed following confirmation that P. canaliculata can carry the nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which causes eosinophilic meningitis. Cases of human infection and the possible routes of transmission are discussed, confirming that Ecuador was the first South American country to have cases of the disease. These results are compared with those for the giant African snail (Lissachatina fulica), a mollusc that can also transmit the disease. It is probable that native Pomacea species can also be infected with the nematode. Finally, a wide range of measures and management actions that should be considered, and possibly adopted, by Ecuador are proposed with the goal of controlling this dangerous pest.

Joshi, R.C., Cowie, R.H. & Sebastian, L.S., 2017. Biology and management of invasive apple snails. Muõz: Philippine Rice Research Institute, 406 pp. Available at http://tinyurl.com/y8aw4htb


Cecilioides in Argentina

Diaz et al. recently published a new record of an introduced species for Argentina. “Cecilioides acicula (Müller, 1774), family Ferussaciidae, is native to the Palaearctic region but has been dispersed around the word by human activity. Here, we report the presence of this introduced species in La Plata city, Buenos Aires province, Argentina. This snail is largely subterranean and frequently is found in old graves in association with skeletal remains. Our samples were collected from sediments from the Municipal Cemetery of La Plata, Buenos Aires province, Argentina”.

Diaz, A.C. et al., 2017. First record of Cecilioides acicula (Müller, 1774) (Mollusca: Ferussaciidae), from Buenos Aires province, Argentina. – CheckList, 13(2): 2096.

Two papers on CCP snails

Two papers were published, one very recently and one today, related to the material collected by the ‘Comisión Científica del Pacífico’ (CCP). This material was collected during an expedition that lasted from late 1862 to  early 1866 through several Neotropical counties. The material has been deposited in the Madrid museum and was originally studied by Hidalgo (terrestrial molluscs, marine gastropods) and Martínez (marine bivalves).

The terrestrial material has been restudied during a SYNTHESYS project last year, and has resulted in two papers. One dealing with the CCP material and the history of the expedition (Breure & Araujo, 2017), and one dealing with the publication date of Hidalgo’s main paper on the CCP material and related correspondence from him with Crosse in Paris (Breure & Backhuys, 2017).

The link to the first paper is here.

Due to an unfortunate coincidence at the proof stage (we unexpectedly received only one proof), the following corrections were not made in the published version:
Fig. 3 in the text (page 4) correspond to Fig. 2B
Fig. 4 in the text (page 5) correspond to Fig. 3A
Fig. 5 in the text (page 6) correspond to Fig. 3B
Fig. 6 in the text (page 6) correspond to Fig. 4A
Fig. 7 in the text (page 7) correspond to Fig. 4B
Fig. 8 in the text (page 9) correspond to Fig. 5A
Fig. 9 in the text (page 10) correspond to Fig. 5B
Fig. 10 in the text (page 12) correspond to Fig. 6A
Fig. 11 in the text (page 12) correspond to Fig. 6B
Then, after Fig. 11 in the text, appear Figs. 7A-7B (page 17) that actually correspond to the Figures 7A and 7B; later (page 17) appears Fig. 8G-8H that correspond to Fig. 8.
Finally, Fig. 27H does not depict Bostryx rouaulti as the wrong shell was photographed.

Breure, A.S.H. & Araujo, R. The Neotropical land snails (Mollusca, Gastropoda) collected by the ‘Comisión Científica del Pacífico’. — PeerJ 5: e3065 (142 pp.).
Breure, A.S.H. & Backhuys, W. Science networks in action: the collaboration between J.G. Hidalgo and H. Crosse, and the creation of ‘Moluscos del Viaje al Pacifico, Univalvos terrestres’. — Iberus 35: 11–30.

Snails in birds’ nests

Already published for a while, but just arrived at our library in print: a paper by Miquel et al. (2015) describing the results of studying the nests of birds in Argentine on the content of shells and snails. It formed part of a larger study related to other invertebrates as well from the same source.

The abstract reads as follows: Bird’s nests are specialized habitats that are inhabited by a diverse suite of invertebrates, such as insects, spiders, pseudoscorpions, and ticks. This study presents a list of gastropods found in birds’ nests from Argentina for the first time. A total of 138 specimens of gastropods, belonging to 11 species, 10 genera and 8 families of snails were present in the nests of 42 birds from 6 families in 6 provinces in Argentina. Fifty eight specimens of the snail Pupisoma latens of different sizes were found alive in a nest, representing a new habitat for this species, which has been previously described from the aerial parts of trees. The remaining species were represented by dead specimens (fragments or empty shells), which can be tentatively attributed to bird diets, Among these, the most abundant species were Bulimulus bonariensis bonariensis and Succinea rneridionalis, both as pre-adults. The nests Anumbius annumbi and Furnarius rufus from the province of Buenos Aires had the highest number of specimens. Freshwater snails (Heleobia parchappii, Biomphalaria sp., and Drepanotrema sp.) comprised 13% of the snail species found.


The paper ends with an appendix showing previous references from literature on predation from snails by birds.

Miquel, S.E., Turienzo, P. & Di Iorio, O.R. 2015. Gastropod species found in birds’ nests from Argentina. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales (n.s.) 17: 87–96.


New fossil land shells from Patagonia

Miquel & Rodriguez (2015 [2016]) published a new paper on fossil shells from Miocene deposits in Patagonia, Argentina. Among them four new species, of which one is placed in a new genus.


“A remarkable fossil assemblage composed of five gastropod taxa is described from the Early Miocene of Santa Cruz (Patagonia, Argentina) in southernmost South America. The assemblage includes extinct and living genera South America, and on geographic distributions and represent background new information on spatial and across time distributions as well as identification of new taxa. A new taxon, Patagocharopa enigmatica n. gen. n. sp., is tentatively assigned to Charopidae. Gastrocopta patagonica n. sp. (Vertiginidae) represents the oldest record of Gastrocopta in Argentina and the southernmost record for the Americas. Punctum patagonicum n. sp. (Punctidae) represents the first record of Punctum for continental South America, and characterized by a protoconch with traces of axial costulae and a teleoconch with strong radial ribs. Zilchogyra miocenica n. sp. is the first Miocene record of the charopid genus Zilchogyra. Fragments of a possible Scolodonta (Scolodontidae) are recorded. Overall, the assemblage represents an important and useful paleoenvironmental tool. This fauna suggests that a more temperate and humid environment than today—with a more dense vegetation cover—was prevalent at this site during the Early Miocene”.

Although the paper appeared in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Paleontology, the actual publication date seems 2016. In the PDF I received it says “Published online: 22 March 2016”, while also the copyright is from this year. As new taxa are introduced in this paper, this is relevant information.

Miquel, S.E. & Rodriguez, P.E., 2015 [2016]. A novel late Early Miocene assemblage of terrestrial gastropods from Santa Cruz (Patagonia, Argentina). – Journal of Paleontology, 89(5): 748-761.

A new fossil Radiodiscus

Papers on Neotropical fossils are rare, but Sergio Miquel is a regular contributor of them. Although Turazzini & Miquel (2014) was overlooked by me, I mention the paper now it came to my attention. The abstract follows after the break.


“Numerous fossil gastropods have been recorded in an edaphic level of the middle section of the the Aisol Formation (Mendoza Province, Argentina). This stratigraphic section bears an association of fossil mammals suggesting an early Pliocene age (possible Montehermosan SALMA). Up to four taxa of gastropods have been identified, belonging in Succinea Draparnaud (Succineidae), Gastrocopta Wollaston (Vertiginidae), Bostryx Troschel (Bulimulidae), and a new species of Radiodiscus Pilsbry and Ferriss (Charopidae). The fossil record of terrestrial pulmonate mollusks in Argentina is scarce and mainly restricted to the Quaternary. Thus, the record of these taxa is of paramount importance because it constitutes the oldest record of Gastrocopta and Succinea in Argentina, the first record of Bostryx in Mendoza Province, and the first record of the family Charopidae (Radiodiscus sanrafaelensis nov. sp.) in Pliocene deposits of Argentina”.

Turazzini, G.F. & Miquel, S.E., 2014. A terrestrial gastropod community from the Early Pliocene (Neogene) of Mendoza, Argentina, with description of a new species of Radiodiscus Pilsbry and Ferriss, 1906 (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Charopidae). – Ameghiniana, 51(5): 396-404.

More on Argentinian Bostryx

María José Miranda has recently published a new study on several Bostryx species from central western Argentina. As always, this is a thorough paper with lots of anatomical data.


The abstract reads: “The genus Bostryx Troschel, 1847 is endemic to South America, extending from Ecuador to Chile and Argentina. The southernmost Argentinian species of the genus that inhabit San Luis, San Juan and Mendoza provinces, specially the pre-Andes, Andes and Sierras Pampeanas mountain ranges, were examined. This is the first time the anatomy of Bostryx pastorei (Holmberg, 1912), Bostryx reedi (Parodiz, 1947) and Bostryx strobeli (Parodiz, 1956) has been described. Bostryx cordillerae (Strobel, 1874) is re-described regarding shell and anatomy due to new morphological data. The main differences among the species examined are based on shell characters. The distribution of Bostryx mendozanus (Strobel, 1874) and Bostryx cuyanus (Pfeiffer, 1867), other species found in this region, was also discussed”.

As she cited my publication about the subfamily Bostrycinae (Breure, 2012), I feel entitled to correct a possible misinterpretation. From her text it gives the impression that I have a very restricted view of this subfamily, leaving out all species not listed in my 2012 paper. The contrary is true. Page 3 of my paper explicitly stated that the list presented is incomplete, and further research should show which other species belong to this monophyletic clade. As the shell shape may be very misleading, which is corroborated in Miranda’s paper, I invited further research using anatomical and molecular data. Miranda’s paper is a welcome contribution to this end, although she has not presented phylogenetic data which could supplement the available data in GenBank. Hence there is room for further additions…

Breure, A.S.H., 2012. The status of the genus Bostryx Troschel, 1847, with description of a new subfamily (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Bulimulidae). – ZooKeys 216: 1-3.
Miranda, M.J., 2015. The genus Bosoryx in central western Argentina: anatomical and distributional description of four of its southernmost species (Gastropoda, Bulimulidae). – Iheringia, Zoologia 105: 484–498.