Tag Archives: Bothriembryontidae

Snails and forest relicts in Chile

Freshly pressed: a paper by Francisco Cádiz and co-authors describing how they used land snails to decipher the origin and isolation in forest relicts in northern Chile.

The abstract reads: “Among the questions surrounding the biogeographical history of the Chilean biota, none has gathered more interest than the origin of the Fray Jorge (FJ) for- est relict and its biota. Inserted in a semi‐desert area, this forest enclave exists due to the existence of a very particular microclimate in this region. The age of the disjunction and the historical relationship between the FJ biota with the remaining components of South America are explained by two distinct, competing hypotheses: the first suggests that it would have become isolated during the climatic changes of the Paleogene/Neogene, while the second suggests that the isolation is a product of Quaternary glaciations. To discriminate between these competing hypotheses, we used DNA sequence phylogeny methods and molecular genetic dating to the study of a genus of land snails (Plectostylus) that occurs in the FJ relict and throughout Chile. The phylogeny shows a clear distinction between forest and arid clades, and each of these clades is formed by many geographically circumscribed populations. The FJ fragment snails form a clade that is sister to all other forest clades. The separation between the Fray Jorge clade and the other forest clades dates back to the Paleogene/Neogene. Our data suggest that the FJ forest is a relict from the forests that occupied that landscape during the Paleogene/Neogene and retreated due to the aridification of the region. We also observe that the current taxonomy of the Plectostylus genus must be re‐evaluated”.

Schermafbeelding 2018-07-30 om 17.04.11

An interesting paper that uses molecular data of an endemic land snail group to sort out competing hypotheses of ancient landscape genesis. More often, ecological data are used to support a hypothesis of the taxonomy of species; this time it is the other way around. While working on this study the authors also collected data on the taxonomy of this group, but this will be dealt with in a future paper.

Cádiz, F.J. et al., 2018. Phylogeography of Plectostylus Beck, 1837 (Gastropoda, Stylommatophora: Orthalicoidea): Origin and isolation of the Fray Jorge forest relicts in northern Chile. – Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, doi: 10.1111/jzs.12241 (10 pp.) (advance publication).

Snails from central Chile

The abstract of the new paper by Araya (2016) reads: “Among the terrestrial invertebrates, the molluscan species of central and northern Chile have been scarcely studied and here, for the first time, a record of the diversity of land snail species of Los Molles (32◦14′ S, 71◦31′ W), in the Valparaíso region, central Chile is reported. Four species were found: Chiliborus rosaceus (King & Broderip, 1831); Lilloiconcha lopezi Araya & Aliaga, 2015; Plectostylus chilensis (Lesson, 1830), and Plectostylus reflexus (Pfeiffer, 1842); all of them are ground dwelling snails, endemic, occurring in small geographical ranges or in fragmented populations along northern and central Chile; L. lopezi is an endemic species to Los Molles. The geographic distribution records of P. chilensis and P. reflexus are also extended and illustrations of the species and distribution records are presented. The areas around Los Molles harbor a comparatively high diversity of plants and invertebrates, and they should be considered in future conservation efforts”.


Araya, J.F., 2016. On some land snails (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of Los Molles, central Chile. – Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad, 87:1365–1368.

New paper published

Together with my colleague Corey Whisson, just published:


A paper with a description of one new species is nothing to be taken too serious, but we are proud to present a novel way of (non-)dissection to study the genitalia: applying micro-CT and reconstruction with dedicated software. As far as we know this is one of the first times this method is applied to (land) molluscs in the context of describing a new species.


Although the results presented here are satisfying, it is not necessarily a quick method and it is also quite laborious. However, in the case of a single or just a few specimens, this may be an alternative for destructive dissection. In this paper we show it as a ‘proof of principle’ for the application of this method.

Whisson, C.S. & A.S.H. Breure, 2016. A new species of Bothriembryon (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Bothriembryontidae) from south-easternmost Western Australia. — ZooKeys 581: 127–140.

Leap Day new subfamily

Leap Days are relatively rare events, and a paper which appears on a Leap Day is even rarer. However, this year’s Leap Day saw the birth of a new subfamily: Prestonellinae.


The name was originally coined by van Bruggen nearly 40 years ago for a  family, but introduced in a way it was not available according to the ICZN rules. Moreover, during these years additional research has shed more light on the systematic position of this group. And thus any day is a good day to make it available under the Code. It happened just to be 29 February 2016.

Species catalogue for Argentina

Species catalogues are now available for all major Neotropical countries (the most prominent exception being Venezuela), but some of them tend to become a bit outdated. Gabriela Cuezzo and co-workers have just published an up-to-date one for the superfamily Orthalicoidea in Argentina (Cuezzo et al., 2013). The abstract reads as follows:

We provide here a catalogue of all available species nomina of Orthalicoidea occurring in Argentina. Ongoing taxonomic revisions on the genera Bostryx Troschel, 1847, Clessinia Doering, 1874, Pilsbrylia Hylton Scott, 1952, and Spixia Pilsbry & Vanatta, 1898, highlighted the necessity of an updated catalogue for the region. A total of 101 orthalicoidean species classified into four families, Bothriembryontidae, Bulimulidae, Odontostomidae and Simpulopsidae are present in Argentina. The catalogue provided here is based on examination of primary literature, available revisions and monographs, comparative studies within and among species and revision of museum data, including most type specimens. Additional collection of specimens in various localities of the country was carried out for more than a decade to be able to accurately state distributional information on the species treated. Nomenclatural details are provided for all nominal species. Name-bearing types were located for 86 species-group taxa, and six lectotypes were designated for the stabilization of the taxonomy. We propose the following nine new combinations: Bulimulus fourmiersi (d’Orbigny, 1835), Clessinia cordovana (Pfeiffer, 1855), Drymaeus flossdorfi (Holmberg, 1909), Cyclodontina (Ventanía) avellanedae(Doering, 1881), Simpulopsis (Eudioptus) eudioptus (Ihering in Pilsbry, 1897), Spixia champaquiana (Doering, 1875), S. charpentieri (Grateloup in Pfeiffer, 1850), S. minor (d’Orbigny, 1837) and S. parodizi (Hylton Scott, 1951). The following four new synonymies are proposed: Bostryx sophieae Breure, 1979, with Bulimus cordillerae (Strobel, 1874) (current name Bostryx cordillerae); Cyclodontina (Clessinia) gracilis Hylton Scott, 1956, with Bulimus cordovanus Pfeiffer, 1855 (current name Clessinia cordovana); Spixia estherae Fernández, 1971, withOdontostomus (Spixia) costellifer Hass, 1936 (current nameSpixia costellifer); Kuschelenia simulans Hylton Scott, 1951, with Helix tupacii d’Orbigny, 1835 (current name Scutalus tupacii). Bulimulus sporadicus gracilis Hylton Scott, 1948, is changed from subspecific to specific status.

Given the time-lag for publication (manuscript finally accepted in March 2013), all recent data have been included. And I think the author’s acknowledgement of the role of BHL is very apt as it is indeed becoming indispensable. For the coming years this is a major paper for the regional malacology.


Cuezzo, M.G., Miranda, M.J. & Ovando, X.M.C. (2013). Species catalogue of Orthalicoidea in Argentina (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora). — Malacologia 56: 135-191.