Tag Archives: colombia

Colombian Stenostylus and Drymaeus

Freshly pressed: a paper on two genera from Colombia with description of new species. The following abstract is given: “The land snails of the genera Drymaeus Albers, 1850 and Stenostylus Pilsbry, 1898, both belonging to the family Bulimulidae, and occurring within northwestern South America are revised and notes on their distribution are given. 78 species of Drymaeus and two of Stenostylus are herein confirmed from Colombia, and are illustrated for comparison. Six new (sub)species are described: Drymaeus (Drymaeus) denticulus, D. (D.) duplexannulus, D. (D.) felix restrepoensis, D. (D.) iniurius, D. (D.) intermissus, D. (D.) luciensis.”


The abstract continues: “Drymaeus flexuosus megas Pilsbry, 1944 is now upgraded to species level. A lectotype is designated for Drymaeus roseatus montanus Pilsbry, 1901.
The following nominal taxa are herein synonymised: Bulimus antioquiensis L. Pfeiffer, 1855 = B. baranguillanus L. Pfeiffer, 1853; Bulimus hachensis Reeve, 1850 = B. virgo Lea, 1838 = B. columbianus Lea, 1838; Drymaeus eversus alata Piaget, 1914 = Drymaeus eversus subula Piaget, 1914 = Bulimus violaceus Mousson, 1873 = B. confluens L. Pfeiffer, 1855; Drymaeus cantatus medinanus Pilsbry, 1935 = D. tusagasuganus Pilsbry, 1935 = Bulimulus (Drymaeus) plicatoliratus da Costa, 1898 = Bulimus convexus L. Pfeiffer, 1855; Drymaeus fallax chicoensis Breure, 1977 = Bulimus fallax L. Pfeiffer, 1853; Bulimus trivittatus Mousson, 1869 = B. felix L. Pfeiffer, 1862; Bulimus andicola L. Pfeiffer, 1847 = B. multilineatus Say, 1825; Bulimulus (Drymaeus) comis Preston, 1907 = Bulimus pealianus Lea, 1838; Drymaeus incognita da Costa, 1907 = D. bellus da Costa, 1906 = D. blandi Pilsbry, 1898 = Bulimulus (Drymaeus) smithii da Costa, 1898.
For the following species, precise localities are given for the first time: Drymaeus (Drymaeus) angusta da Costa, 1906, D. (D.) auris (L. Pfeiffer, 1866), D. (D.) baranguillanus (L. Pfeiffer 1853), D. (D.) cognatus Pilsbry, 1901, D. (D.) geometricus (L. Pfeiffer 1846), D. (D.) inclinatus (L. Pfeiffer 1862), D. (D.) spadiceus da Costa, 1906, D. (Mesembrinus) koppelli (G.B. Sowerby III, 1892), D. (M.) muliebris (Reeve 1849).
Newly recorded for the Colombian malacofauna are the following five taxa: Drymaeus (Drymaeus) fordii Pilsbry, 1898, D. (D.) glaucostomus (Albers, 1852), D. (D.) volsus Fulton, 1907, D. (Mesembrinus) interruptus (Preston, 1909).
The following 27 taxa are excluded from the Colombian fauna as we consider them based on erroneous or doubtful records: Stenostylus meleagris (L. Pfeiffer, 1853), Drymaeus (Drymaeus) attenuatus (L. Pfeiffer, 1853), D. (D.) chimborasensis (Reeve, 1848), D. (D.) edmuelleri (Albers, 1854), D. (D.) linostoma (d’Orbigny, 1835), D. (D.) membielinus (Crosse, 1867), D. (D.) phryne (L. Pfeiffer, 1863), D. (D.) poecilus (d’Orbigny, 1835), D. (D.) protractus (L. Pfeiffer, 1855), D. (D.) rugistriatus Haas, 1952, D. (D.) strigatus (Sowerby, 1833), D. (D.) subinterruptus (L. Pfeiffer, 1853), D. (Mesembrinus) cactivorus (Broderip, 1832), D. (M.) deshayesi (L. Pfeiffer, 1845), D. (M.) dubius (L. Pfeiffer, 1853), D. (M.) flavidus (Menke, 1829), D. (M.) granadensis (L. Pfeiffer, 1848), D. (M.) liliaceus (Férussac, 1821), D. (M.) loxanus (Higgins, 1872), D. (M.) manupictus (Reeve, 1848), D. (M.) multifasciatus (Lamarck, 1822), D. (M.) nitidus (Broderip, 1832), D. (M.) pertristis Pilsbry, 1898, D. (M.) pervariabilis (L. Pfeiffer, 1853), D. (M.) studeri (L. Pfeiffer, 1847), D. (M.) translucens (Broderip, 1832)“.

The paper includes distribution maps for most species and a brief analysis of the fact that a number of species have not been recorded again after their initial collection.

Breure, A.S.H. & Borrero, F.J., 2019. A review of Stenostylus Pilsbry, 1898 and Drymaeus Albers, 1850 (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Orthalicoidea: Bulimulidae) from Colombia, with description of new species. – Folia conchyliologica, 52: 1-79

New Granada

Working on a paper related to Colombian Drymaeus reveals some well-known puzzles about old localities who have not been traced again. In fact, the denomination of the area as “New Grenada” is somewhat of a puzzle, as the meaning of that terminology has shifted over time.
Just out of curiosity, I searched for pictures on “New Grenada” in Google. I found a few, and the shift in what has to be called “New Grenada” is clearly illustrated in the following time-series.


Map of New Grenada
Author: John Pilkerton, 1811. Scale 1:3,400,000. Publshers: Cadell & Davies; Longman, Hurst, Rees, Ome & Brown, London



Map of the Kingdom of New Grenada
Author: Hall Sidney, 1827. Scale 1:5,700,000. Publisher: Caddell, London.



Map of Venezuela, New Grenada & Equador
Author: Henny Tanner, 1836. Scale 1:6,969,600. Publisher: H.S. Tanner, Philadelphia

The first map shows that New Grenada at one time reached the borders of the Río Marañon, now in the territory of Perú. The last map is especially interesting, since it depicts the situation at the time from which many type material originate, that can still be found in museum collections. What struck me is the very different limitation of the ‘Provinces” or “Departments”. Colombia consisted in the mid-19th century of four parts: Cauca, Cundinamarca, Magdalena and Boyacá. Their geographical limits are, however, rather different from their current, being far more extensive. When interpreting old locality labels this knowledge can be very helpful to pinpoint certain places, which might not be located where one would expect them with today’s map in front.

Just an example of some puzzles that I consider solved, where some geographical knowledge and modern facilities go hand in hand. One of the collectors who travelled extensively through Colombia at that time was Thomas Bland (1809-1885). Many of his collected material was studied by Pilsbry during his work for the Manual of Conchology. But quite often modern authors may be puzzled about some of the places that were visited by Bland.
There were three Drymaeus species with localities originating from Bland that, at first, I was unable to locate. “Between Salamina and Cabuyal, west of Ervé” was one of them, a locality reported for D. bogotensis (Pfeiffer). I looked up Ervé in the GNS gazetteer but nothing turned up. On the other hand, Salamina and Cabuyal – though not sounding like common names – turned up many times from different parts of Colombia. I decided to leave it and went on with my revision.
Another puzzling locality was “near Santa Ana”, type locality of D. decoratus goniobasis Pilsbry, based on material collected by Bland. When I looked up “Santa Ana” in the gazetteer, many places of that name turned up from all over the country.
Finally, I came to D. geometricus (Pfeiffer), for which Pilsbry had another locality from Bland: “Forests in the mountains below Ervé, on the road to Santa Ana”. I’m unaware if there has anything been published about the journeys of Bland in Colombia, but now I had three parts of a puzzle and I decided to find some solution. First the place “Ervé”. This is a highly unusual spelling in Spanish, so it could be phonetical. I decided to look for “erve” in the GNS database, but not with “starts with” option enabled, but with the “contains” option instead. It turned up 6 names, of which 3 could be skipped right away. I ended up with “Páramo de Herveo” and two variants of the populated place “Herveo”, all at or very close to 05° 05′ 00″ N 075° 10′ 00″ W, which is in Dept. Tolima. The first puzzle bit was in place.
The next step was to find Santa Ana, which could not be far away. When I scrutinized the list of names I did not find a place with a modern name that seemed logical to me. Then I was struck by the name Falán in the list, with a variant name Santa Ana, and located 25 km ENE of Herveo. That seemed logical to me, both places are in the region of Fresno in the upper Magdalena valley, from which the species have been reported.
Then finally Salamina and Cabuyal. With the location of Herveo in mind I looked through all the records for these names in the GNS gazetteer. Salamina is in Dept. Caldas, nearly 50 km NW of Herveo. And there is a “Quebrada Cabuyal” in Tolima, 60 km SE of Herveo. Both places are marked with red in the map below, while the three localties of the Drymaeus species mentioned are marked with yellow. Three species finally found their home.


This post was originally published in my previous blog in November 2007; thanks to the WaybackMachine I’m able to re-publish it here.

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“.

Schermafbeelding 2019-08-08 om 11.59.40

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.
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.

Achatina in Colombia

Patino-Montoya et al. recently published a paper on the Giant African Snail in Colombia. Their abstract reads “Populations of invasive species may differ in the characteristics that determine the intensity of their effects on native ecosystems. The study of morphological variation provides valuable information on different evolutionary and ecological processes. In order to evaluate the patterns of morphological variation of the African Snail (Achatina fulica), an invasive species present in the department of Valle del Cauca, individuals were collected in urban areas of 4 municipalities (Buenaventura, Cali, Tulua and Cartago). An analysis of geometric morphometry and classification based on the pattern of bands was performed on the collected specimens. A significant morphological variation within the population was found, along with a total of 13 patterns of bands or coloration in the entire sample. Environmental conditions of each locality and controls exerted by the environmental authority are proposed as possible causes of variation”.

Schermafbeelding 2018-12-06 om 11.59.32

The observed variation does not seem to me as extraordinary, but maybe I am missing the point of this paper…

Patino-Montaya et al., 2018. Variacion morfologica poblacional de una especie invasora: el caracol gigante africano, Achatina fulica (Bowdich, 1822) (Mollusca: Gastropoda-Achatinidae) en el departamento del Valle del Cauca, Colombia. – Biota Colombiana, 19 (1): 112-122.

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”.

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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.