Tag Archives: brazil

Brazilian biodiversity

Salvador just published an analytical paper on the diversity of Brazilian land snails.

Brazil is a megadiverse country for many (if not most) animal taxa, harboring a signifi- cant portion of Earth’s biodiversity. Still, the Brazilian land snail fauna is not that diverse at first sight, comprising around 700 native species. Most of these species were described by European and North American naturalists based on material obtained during 19th-century expeditions. Early 20th century malacologists, like Philadelphia-based Henry A. Pilsbry (1862–1957), also made remarkable contributions to the study of land snails in the country. From that point onwards, however, there was relatively little interest in Brazilian land snails until very recently. The last decade sparked a renewed enthusiasm in this branch of malacology, and over 50 new Brazilian species were revealed. An astounding portion of the known species (circa 45%) presently belongs to the superfamily Orthalicoidea, a group of mostly tree snails with typically large and colorful shells. It has thus been argued that the missing majority would be comprised of inconspicuous microgastropods that live in the undergrowth. In fact, several of the species discovered in the last decade belong to these “low-profile” groups and many come from scarcely studied regions or environments, such as caverns and islands. These places still undoubtedly hide many surprises for malacologists and there is still a long way to go until we have a good understanding of the terrestrial gastropod fauna in Brazil. The science behind this venture, however, is still underfunded and moving at a snail’s pace. This is especially unsettling, as land snails are deemed one of the animal groups most vulnerable to extinction, and the overly-exploited natural environments in Brazil might not last long, especially considering the country’s recent environmentally harmful policies.

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It is clear that the Brazilian malacologists community is the most active one on the continent with regard to the group under discussion. My feeling is that, especially in the Andean countries, intensified research could bring much more novelties to light. Given the practical limitations following the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, field work and anatomical and molecular studies have become impossible. This has serious consequences for modern systematic research. At the same time some journals even do no want to publish now a taxonomic paper without molecular data! It is time that local authorities and malacologists become aware of the need to further the application of modern taxonomic techniques (DNA, CT-scanning) and facilitate the necessary field work for it. They should either become active themselves or co-operate with foreign malacologists that can supply these modern techniques. There are enough signs already of a biodiversity crisis emerging to take urgent action!

Reference:
Salvador, R.B., 2019. Land snail diversity in Brazil. Strombus, 25: 10-20.

Revision of Hyperaulax

Freshly pressed: a paper by Salvador & Cavallari on the Brazilian genus Hyperaulax. “The genus Hyperaulax Pilsbry, 1897 comprises two living species endemic to the oceanic Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, offnorth-eastern Brazil. They are currently allocated in two subgenera, Hyperaulax s. str. and Bonnanius Jousseaume, 1900, belonging to the family Odontostomidae. Herein we present a taxonomic revision of these species, assessing their familiar allocation within Orthalicoidea, offering updated diagnoses and descriptions, figuring the type materials and further relevant specimens, and providing barcoding DNA sequences. We conclude that Bonnanius is a junior synonym of Hyperaulax, which is classified in Odontostomidae.The genus contains two valid species, H. ridleyi and H. ramagei, both endemic to Fernando de Noronha“.

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This genus has been associated also with Floridian fossils for many years, until Auffenbach et al. showed that these fossils belonged to the Bulimulidae. This revision of the two species neatly shows that subgeneric splitting should be avoided.

Reference:
Salvador, B.R. & Cavallari, D.C., 2019. Taxonomic revision of the genus Hyperaulax Pilsbry, 1897 (Gastropoda, Stylommatophora, Odontostomidae). Zoosystema and Evolution, 95 (2): 453–463.

 

Ovachlamys in Brazil

Just published: a report that confirms the occurrence of a new invasive snail in this country. “The occurrence of the invasive non-native Asiatic jumping land snail Helicarionidae Ovachlamys fulgens (Gude, 1900) is finally confirmed by us in the southern Brazil region, specifically on the Santa Catarina State territory, from previous records available since the year 2013 “masked” under the identity of another species. This report increases to 27 the number of exotic continental molluscs confirmed in the State of Santa Catarina/ SC.“.

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Not surprisingly the occurrences are mainly situated near the region where the port activities occur. I wouldn’t be surprised if these snail travel with sea containers, as the distribution of Bulimulus sp. suggests (ongoing research, unpublished data).

Reference:
Aguda-Padron, I., 2019. Confirmed occurrence of the invasive asiatic jumping land microsnail Helicarionidae Ovachlamys fulgens (Gude, 1900) in the Southern Brazil region. – Bioma (El Salvador) 5 (49): 11–15.

Veronicellids recharacterised

Just published: a paper by Rocha & D’ávila on the Veronicellid genera Latipes and Angustipes.

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Their abstract is “The genera Angustipes Colosi, 1922 and Latipes Colosi, 1922 were originally proposed as “groups” within the genus Vaginulus Ferrussac, 1822, and since their establishment they have been variously considered valid or invalid until they gained the ultimate status of genus. The descriptions of both genera are general and broadly inclusive, and this fact has complicated taxonomic recognition. Additionally, incomplete descriptions and difficult identification of characteristics in the name-bearing type specimens demonstrate the need to revisit the species and revise the two genera. Herein, we broaden the description of Latipes erinaceus Colosi, 1922 with respect to the circulatory system, the radula, the jaw, the position of entry of the ligation duct in the bursa copulatrix in relation to the canal of the bursa, the origin of the muscle of the penial gland, along with the morphometric characteristics of the phallus, the penial gland, the pedal gland, and the bursa copulatrix. We also propose new differential diagnoses for the genera Angustipes and Latipes, limited to the essential characteristics that enable taxonomic recognition. Hence, we propose the assignment of the species L. erinaceus, Latipes rosilus (Thiele, 1927), Latipes ribeirensis (Thiele, 1927), and Latipes absumptus (Colosi, 1921) to the genus Angustipes, based on the presence of morpho- logical characteristics attributable to this genus, such as the phallus being short and conical; the bursa copulatrix being sessile or short, and lacking a head; the ligation duct inserted near the canal of the bursa; as well as on the similarity in phallus morphology with Angustipes difficilis Colosi, 1922, the type species of this genus“.

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The family Veronicellidae is notoriously enigmatic due to the need to use anatomical charcters for classification. This paper is thus a welcome addition to the literature of this family.
Reference:
Rocha, C.A. & D’ávila, S., 2019. New Morphological Characterization of Latipes erinaceus (Gastropoda, Veronicellidae), Differential Diagnosis for the Genera Angustipes and Latipes, and Novel Combinations for Species of Latipes. – Zoological Science (Tokyo), 36 (3):231-241.

Shells and bones

Found by serendipity: a forensic medicine study on the association of terrestrial shells with a buried skeleton (Galvão et al., 2015). As this is the first report of such an association and the crime case was in Brazil, it seems apt to report here.

The abstract reads as follows: “Little is known regarding the scavenger fauna associated with buried human corpses, particularly in clandestine burials. We report the presence of 20 shells of the terrestrial snail Allopeas micra, within hollow bones of human remains buried for 5 years, during the process of collecting DNA material. The fact that a large number of shells of A. micra had been found in the corpse and in the crime scene supports the assumption that there was no attempt to remove the corpse from the area where the crime occurred. Despite this, our observations cannot be used to estimate the postmortem interval because there is no precise knowledge about the development of this species. This is the first record of a terrestrial snail associated with a human corpse and its role in this forensic medicine case“.

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One of the co-authors was Luiz Simone, who also made the identification of the shells. Earlier studies on forensic malacology were focussed on marine species, and so this was an interesting case.

Reference:
Galvão M. et al., 2015. Shells and bones: A forensic medicine study of the association of terrestrial snail Allopeas micra with buried human remains in Brazil. – Journal of Forensic Sciences 60: 1369-1372.

Historical range information

A paper just published by Salvador provides interesting information on some distribution ranges based on a historical collection. The abstract reads “The malacological collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (NMNZ), despite naturally focusing on New Zealand species, also includes a variety of specimens from South America. Examination of this material revealed new distributional data for several species. All Brazilian, Uruguayan and Argentinian terrestrial gastropods from the NMNZ collection were examined and re-identified (no material from Paraguay was found). The information gathered was compiled and is presented in this article, and may contain significant data for malacologists working with the region’s fauna. In summary, 99 species are reported, 13 of which represent new records and meaningful increments in geographical distribution, either extending their known range or filling distributional gaps. Moreover, the NMNZ collection houses the type material of six species from Brazil and Argentina described by the New Zealand malacologist Henry Suter (1841–1918) in 1900“.

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The material consists of species from 17 families. “The following 13 species have significant increments in their distribution (range extension or filling of distributional ‘gaps’): Auris chrysostoma, Auris illheocola, Auris melanostoma and Thaumastus nehringi (Bulimulidae [Thaumastus belongs to the Megaspiridae]); Callionepion iheringi (Megaspiridae); Cyclodontina fusiformis, Moricandia willi and Spixia martensii (Odontostomidae); Simpulopsis decussata (Simpulopsidae); Neobeliscus calcarius (Achatinidae); Happia iheringi (Scolodontidae); Epiphragmophora hieronymi (Epiphragmophoridae); and Solaropsis punctatus (Pleurodontidae) [sic, Solaropsidae]“. The author rightly draws attention to the fact that even historical collections – although sometimes lacking from precise data – can contribute to our knowledge of distribution of species. This being said, however, it also points to the insufficient inventories being made on a detailed scale in many of the Neotropical countries which leads to insufficient insights in the distribution of many species.

Reference:
Salvador, R.B., 2019. Brazilian, Uruguayan and Argentinian terrestrial gastropods in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. – Tuhinga, 30: 82-98.

New records for Brazilian Helicina

A new paper just appeared by Silva et al. “New records for Helicina schereri Baker, 1913, are reported. It was a species previously restricted to the states of Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Alagoas and Tocantins in Northeastern Brazil, and State of Santa Catarina, much further south. The new occurrences reported herein fill distribution gaps and also significantly expand the range of the species ca. 970 km westwards. The new records are from the following locations: Bahia State (Ituaçu and Itaquara municipalities) in Northeast Brazil; Mato Grosso do Sul State (Bonito Municipality) in the Midwest; and Minas Gerais (Lagoa Santa municipality) in the Southeast”.

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Reference:
Silva, F. dos Santos et al., 2019. New records of Helicina schereri (Gastropoda: Helicinidae) from the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais, and Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. – Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, 59: e20195903 (3 pp.).