Tag Archives: colombia

Photo of the day (169): Rhodea

Eduardo Calderón sent me two photographs for identification. Although the shell height was not mentioned in any way, the figures combined with the locality where the specimen was found (Colombia, near Cali, in a cloud forest at El Faro, ca. 1800 m) makes me think this is likely Rhodea gigantea Mousson, 1873. See also Grego et al. (2007).

unnamed-2 unnamed

Grego, J., Steffek, J. & Infante, A.P., 2007. Review of the genus Rhodea (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Subulinidae), with description of two new species from Colombia. – Basteria, 71: 13-28.

Invasive Deroceras slugs

Just published: a paper by Hutchinson et al. (2014) on invasive Deroceras slugs. The abstract reads:

The article reviews distribution records of Deroceras invadens (previously called D. panormitanum and D. caruanae), adding significant unpublished records from the authors’ own collecting, museum samples, and interceptions on goods arriving in the U.S.A. By 1940 D. invadens had already arrived in Britain, Denmark, California, Australia and probably New Zealand; it has turned up in many further places since, including remote oceanic islands, but scarcely around the eastern Mediterranean (Egypt and Crete are the exceptions), nor in Asia. Throughout much of the Americas its presence seems to have been previously overlooked, probably often being mistaken for D. laeve. New national records include Mexico, Costa Rica, and Ecuador, with evidence from interceptions of its presence in Panama, Peru, and Kenya. The range appears limited by cold winters and dry summers; this would explain why its intrusion into eastern Europe and southern Spain has been rather slow and incomplete. At a finer geographic scale, the occurrence of the congener D. reticulatum provides a convenient comparison to control for sampling effort; D. invadens is often about half as frequently encountered and sometimes predominates. Deroceras invadens is most commonly found in synanthropic habitats, particularly gardens and under rubbish, but also in greenhouses, and sometimes arable land and pasture. It may spread into natural habitats, as in Britain, South Africa, Australia and Tenerife. Many identifications have been checked in the light of recent taxonomic revision, revealing that the sibling species D. panormitanum s.s. has spread much less extensively. A number of published or online records, especially in Australia, have turned out to be misidentifications of D. laeve.



Hutchinson, J., Reise, H. & Robinson, D., 2014. A biography of an invasive terrestrial slug: the spread, distribution and habitat of Deroceras invadens. NeoBiota 23: 17–64. Available at http://neobiota.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=4006.

Colombian Megalobulimus

Jaramillo et al. (2014) recently published a paper which combined anatomical and molecular research on Megalobulimus oblongus (Müller, 1774) (Strophocheilidae) from Colombia.

The abstract reads: “In this work was done morphological and molecular analysis to 28 land snails of Megalobulimus oblongus, collected in different departments of Colombia, deposited in a reference collection. For morphological characterization, the animals were dissected in a stereomicroscope. The reproductive system and the shell were described. Measures were taken to structures of the reproductive system. Of the shell were described its shape, color, number of whorls and ornamentation and equally basic measures were taken using a digital caliper. For molecular analysis were used two mitochondrial markers, 16S rRNA and cytochrome C oxidase subunit I (COI). Only one haplotype was obtained for each marker, even for individuals of different and distant biogeographical regions. This study suggests that M. oblongus is in danger, therefore are urgent investigations about reproduction, population genetics and biogeography to clarify its situation in Colombia. It also demonstrates that the reference collections and tissue banks are sources of valuable information since they allow knowing aspects related with the species’ risk that serve as an input for the design of conservation actions”.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 13.41.16

The Colombian specimens were collected at six different sites, three of which are in Dept. Antioquia, and one in adjacent Caldas; two originated from the eastern departments. The genetic invariability found was linked to human transportation due to illegal trade. The conclusion that this species, widespread in South America, in endangered in Colombia seems premature. Not all species need to be conserved everywhere anytime in any political-administrative region; this might be a misconception of what biodiversity really is.

The data in Table 2 can be supplemented with the locality of Megalobulimus parafragilior Leme & Indrusiak, 1990: Brazil, São Paulo, Peruibe (MZSP 86740), as mentioned in the source from which the sequence was derived.

Jaramillo Roldán, E., López Martínez, J., Ramírez, R. & Velásquez Trujillo, L. , 2014. Análisis morfológico del sistema reproductor e identificación molecular a través de los marcadores mitocondriales COI y 16S rRNA de Megalobulimus oblongus (Mollusca, Strophocheilidae) de Colombia. – Revista peruana de Biología 21: 79–88. http://bit.ly/1rGTAFs

Andean slugs

Slugs are sometimes difficult to identify, their external appearance does not always give a clue. In the Neotropics, the family Veronicellidae is known for giving taxonomists often a hard time. Gomes et al. (2013) have now published a paper that sheds some light on species from the northwestern part of South America and are prone to be introduced with agricultural products in other countries. The abstract reads:

In this study, we propose C. confusus, new species, an Andean slug of the genus Colosius Thomé, 1975, and a newly recognized pest of coffee and cultivated flowers from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. We compare it with C. pulcher(Colosi, 1921), a poorly known species with which it has been confused. Our study is based on morphological analysis of a large number of specimens, including interceptions on cut-flowers and live plants by federal agricultural inspectors of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and material from eight museum collections. Genetic diversity within C. confusus, n. sp. and C. pulcher is also analysed based on fragments of cytochrome oxidase I (COI), and 16S rRNA. They are differentiated by reproductive characters and genes studied. In C. confusus, n. sp., the phallus has a deep longitudinal groove from the base, near the retractor muscle, to its distal region, close to the papilla. In C. pulcher, there is an oval to rectangular swelling on the basal region of the phallus. Some important differences between these species are also found in the digitiform gland and bursa copulatrix. We describe, illustrate and discuss the color variation, morphological similarities, diagnostic characters and its variation, habitat and distribution for each species. Genetic diversity within C. confusus, n. sp., and C. pulcher is low. In order to analyze their relationship with C. propinquus (Colosi, 1921) (currently a junior synonym of C. pulcher) and C. lugubris (Colosi, 1921) (type-species of Colosius), fragments of COI, 16S, and 28S rRNA genes are also analyzed in a sample of these species. C. confusus, n. sp., is a distinct lineage within the genus Colosius. It is not a sister species of C. pulcher, which has C. propinquusas a sister species, here recognized as valid. Colosius confusus, n. sp., is closer to the clade that includes C. pulcher and C. propinquus than it is to C. lugubris. Based on the phylogenetic reconstruction, C. lugubris is sister to all the other Colosius, although additional studies are required to formally test phylogenetic placements and monophyly of the genus. Associated imports and number of interceptions per year of C. confusus, n. sp., by agricultural inspectors are also presented.

The combination of morphological and molecular studies may give a better insight in this economically important group. Hopefully the authors continue their useful work.

Gomes, S.R., Robinson, D.G., Zimmerman, F.J., Obregón, O. & Barr, N.B. (2013). Morphological and Molecular Analysis of the Andean Slugs Colosius confusus, n. sp., A Newly Recognized Pest of Cultivated Flowers and Coffee from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and Colosius pulcher (Colosi, 1921) (Gastropoda, Veronicellidae).

Snails from western Colombia

In the cloud forests of the western Cordillera in Colombia, a nature reserve – “El Refugio” – is located along the road Cali-Buenaventura. This privately managed reserve has 14 ha of primary forest and 4 ha of secondary forest and gardens. The website (http://elrefugionatura.jimdo.com) provides a wealth of information on the different plant families that may be found here, as well as a small gallery with photos of living snails that have been encountered.

The Drymaeus species pictured is actually D. (D.) zingarensis Restrepo & Breure, 1987.

Modeling on Giant African Snail invasion

An Argentinan group of colleagues has elaborated the potential areas where the Giant African Snail (GAS) might occur or invade (Vogler et al., 2013). Using the same methodology as Borrero et al. (2009), they have detailed now the potential distribution areas for all South American countries. The abstract reads:

The best way to reduce problems related to invasive species is by preventing introductions into potentially susceptible areas. The purpose of this study was to create distribution models for the invasive gastropod Achatina fulica Bowdich, 1822 in South America in order to evaluate its potential geographic distribution and identify areas at potential risk. This mollusc, considered one of the 100 world’s worst invasive alien species, is the focus of intense concern due to its impact on agriculture, human health, and native fauna. We tested two commonly used ecological niche modeling methods: Genetic Algorithm for Rule-Set Prediction (GARP) and Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt). Models were run with occurrence points obtained from several sources, including the scientific literature, international databases, governmental reports and newspapers, WorldClim bioclimatic variables, and altitude. Models were evaluated with the threshold-independent Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) and Area Under the Curve (AUC). Both models had consistent performances with similar areas predicted as susceptible, including areas already affected and new potentially susceptible areas in both tropical and temperate regions of South America.

This new study is more detailed and much more elaborated than Borrero et al. (2009), and uses two modeling methods, (A) GARP and (B) Maxent, of which the latter is generally performing best in comparative studies. The relevance of presenting country maps for potential distribution of this species in each South American country is clear: the responsible authorities now have a handle to focus their attention to areas most under threat. Generally, the Amazon basin is most infected or theathened, but certain areas in Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela are across the Andes but have already been invaded. The following table shows that none of the South American countries can escape to the threat of GAS, although there are gradual differences.

Borrero F.J. et al., 2009. Into the Andes. Three new introductions of Lissachatina fulica (Gastropoda, Achatinidae) and its potential distribution in South America. – Tentacle 17: 6-8.
Vogler, R.E., Beltramino, A.A., Sede, M.M., Gutiérrez Gregoric, D.E., Nuñez, V. & Rumi, A., 2013. The Giant African Snail, Achatina fulica (Gastropoda: Achatinidae): using bioclimatic models to identify South American areas suspectible to invasion. – American Malacological Bulletin 31: 39-50.

Colombian Pleurodontidae

Traditionally the end of the year is ‘harvest time’ for papers. A new paper just appeared on the Pleurodontidae from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia; more papers on Neotropical snails are in the pipeline.

The new paper by Borrero is a thorough revision of the species from northern Colombia, based on museum collections and field work. Six already described new taxa were recognized in the material, while one new species is described: Isomeria goettingi from Dept. Magdalena, San Lorenzo, 2600 m. Holotype SMF 329554.
Borrero, F.J., 2012. A re-examination of the Pleurodontid land snails from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region, Colombia, with the description of a new species of Isomeria Albers (Gastropoda Pulmonata: Stylommatophora: Pleurodontidae). – Archiv f??r Molluskenkunde 141: 217-231.