Tag Archives: literature

An overlooked designation

Taxonomy of fossils and recent species sometimes intertwines as demonstrated by a new publication of Kadolsky.

A nice update for the correct names of the Hispaniolan malacofauna.

Kadolsky, D., 2017. On the type species of the genus Galactochilus Sandberger, 1875, with a review of the identity of Helix cornumilitare Linnaeus, 1758 and of its misidentifications (Gastropoda: Helicoidea). – Archiv für Molluskenkunde, 146: 97-110.

Philippi and his malacological contribution

Just published in the latest issue of the journal Malacologia: two papers authored by Coan and Kabat on the life of Rudolph Amandus Philippi (1808-1904) and his contributions to malacology.

This paper provides a biography of Rudolph Amandus Philippi (1808–1904), emphasizing his malacological research and his contributions to the natural history of Chile. Philippi is one of the most important, yet overlooked malacologists of the 19th century. He authored significant publications on the Recent and fossil molluscs of Sicily; the Oligocene fossil molluscs of northern Germany; the Jurassic to Recent molluscs of Chile, and marine molluscs from around the world. Philippi was also an instrumental contributor to both the Zeitschrift für Malakozoologie and the second edition of the Systematisches Conchylien-Cabinet, and he founded the Abbildungen und Beschreibungen neuer oder wenig gekannter Conchylien”.

Rudolph Amandus Philippi (known in Chile as Rodulfo Amando Philippi), was one of the longest-lived and most prolific malacologists of the 19th century, as his scientific work began in Germany in the 1830s and continued unabated until his death in Chile in 1904. Philippi contributed significantly to malacology: he described over 2,500 new taxa of Recent and fossil molluscs from around the world (2,528 species, 40 genera and three families), particularly from Italy and Chile, and discussed numerous taxa described by other authors. Philippi initially published primarily on Recent and fossil molluscs from Europe in the 1830s, then expanded to marine molluscs from around the world by the 1840s. In 1851, Philippi escaped the German Revolution by emigrating to Chile, where in 1853 he became the director of what is now the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (Santiago) and a professor at the Universidad de Chile. Philippi’s contributions to malacology after his move to Chile were primarily on the fossil molluscs of Chile. Philippi also made significant contributions to the systematics of numerous other animal taxa as well as in botany. In a companion paper (Kabat & Coan, 2017), we provide an analysis of Philippi’s life and scientific contributions. This paper catalogs Philippi’s malacological publications and taxa”.

The authors undoubtedly have made a grand effort to bring Philippi to life, both in uncovering some unknown or obscure aspects about his life, and by bringing together a insightful review of his malacological legacy.

Coan, E.V. & Kabat, A.R., 2017. The Malacological Contributions of Rudolph Amandus Philippi (1808–1904). – Malacologia, 60(1–2):31-322.
Kabat, A.R. & Coan, E.V., 2017. The Life and Work of Rudolph Amandus Philippi (1808–1904). – Malacologia, 60(1–2):1-30.

Pinning down Tenuistemma

Under this (beginning of the) title, Uit de Weerd & Fernández has just made available a paper on the distribution and relationships of an Urocopitid species from eastern Cuba.

We report an extraordinary case of local and extreme shell-morphological differentiation within a group of otherwise relatively uniform eastern Cuban land snails. Analyses of multi-copy nuclear (ITS2) and of mitochondrial (COI) DNA sequences congruently place the ‘genus’ Tenuistemma, occurring monotypically on the Yunque de Baracoa mountain in eastern Cuba, within the more wide-spread species Pleurostemma perplicata from adjacent lower areas. This result is in sharp contrast with patterns of variation in supposedly diagnostic shell-morphological characters, namely (1) differences in both shell form and shell sculpture between Tenuistemma and P. perplicata, (2) the shell- morphological coherence of paraphyletic P. perplicata and (3) the resemblance between P. perplicata and phylogenetically and geographically more distant species placed in Pleurostemma. We conclude that Tenuistemma evolved from P. perplicata on the Yunque de Baracoa, a process that probably started between 0.01 and 1.42 million years ago. The remarkable set of shell features distinguishing Tenuistemma from P. perplicata probably evolved as a result of unique local selection pressures, possibly affecting multiple characters linked in shell development. This study provides a basis for further research into the evolutionary processes behind this remarkable morphological transition. To render the genus Pleurostemma monophyletic, we propose to transfer P. perplicata to the genus Tenuistemma”.

This research is interesting as it hypothesises on the local evolution of snails under different factors. As such there is a link to research on carinated species, of which a paper on Peruvian Bostryx is currently being prepared.

Uit de Weerd, D.R. & Fernández V., A., 2017. Pinning down Tenuistemma (Pulmonata: Urocoptidae): local evolution of an extreme shell type. – Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, XX: 1-12. DOI: 10.1093/biolinnean/blx041

Interaction between alien and native species

Mirando & Pecora (2017) published an ecological study on the interaction between a native and an introduced species. “The Giant African Snail Achatina fulica is widely considered one of the most invasive species in the world. Megalobulimus paranaguensis is a snail endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. Data on possible interactions between A. fulica and terrestrial mollusc species are scarce. We tested whether the presence of A. fulica affects the behaviour of M. paranaguensis. We put three individuals of A. fulica and three individuals of M. paranaguensis in the same aquarium and quantified the time spent in seven behaviours, during three nights (n = 72 individuals for A. fulica and M. paranaguensis). We also tested the effect of sexual maturity, putting juvenile and adult individuals of both species in the same aquarium. We found behavioural differences between species, among individuals exposed to interspecific interactions and in interactions between these factors, but there was no difference in behaviour between juveniles and adults in the same species and between species. Achatina fulica changed its behaviour in interspecific interaction, becoming more active than usual, but M. paranaguensis did not change its behaviour in the presence of the alien species. Our results show that interspecific interaction has an effect on the behavioural patterns of the alien species, and the main factor negatively impacting Megalobulimus populations in Brazil is probably the non-specific control of A. fulica and the alteration and destruction of its habitats”.

This kind of studies, still rarely done, may become more important with the spread of introduced species (unfortunately too often happening). The study will be especially appealing to ecologists and conservationists.

Miranda, M. & Pecora, I., 2017. Conservation implications of behavioural interactions between the Giant  African Snail and a Native Brazilian species. – Ethology Ecology and Evolution, 29 (3): 209-217.

Achatina fulica east of Andes in Ecuador

Goldyn et al. have just published a paper of which the abstract reads “[w]e are reporting the first locality of invasive giant African snail, Achatina (Lissachatina) fulica (Férussac, 1821) in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It was found present in 32 out of 50 urban sites studied. The abundance where present was relatively high when compared to literature from other parts of the world. The snails were found in aggregations, usually foraging — most often on dogs’ feces. Statistical analysis suggests a preference toward this source of alimentation. This is the first report of such preference in this species, which is highly significant considering the possible implications. Besides the threat posed by an invasive species to the invaluable ecosystems of the Amazon, the pathogens transferred by A. fulica combined with a high abundance of the species in an urban environment and its food preferences may constitute an important health hazard for local human populations”.

This is, however, not the first published occurrence east of the Andes in Ecuador. The same authors have published this, and additional data, before in Folia Malacologica last year. If not an oversight by the reviewers and editor, this so-called “first locality” has to be blamed to the authors.

But the fact as such (if we exclude the many Brazilian occurrences), unfortunately, was waiting just to happen. Hopefully the Ecuadorian authorities nowadays know how they should eradicate this pest before it becomes wide-spread in this area which contain many endemic species.

Goldyn, B., et al., 2017. Urban ecology of invasive giant African snail Achatina fulica (Férussac) (Gastropoda: Achatinidae) on its first recorded sites in the Ecuadorian Amazon. – American Malacological Bulletin, 35: 59-64.

New Epiphragmophoridae from Brazil

Just published: a paper by Cuezzo & Pena describing a new genus and species of Epiphragmophoridae; their abstract reads as follows “We describe a new genus and a new species in the family Epiphragmophoridae, Minaselates paradoxa sp. n. The new species was found at the National Park Cavernas do Peruaçu, in northern portion of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Minaselates paradoxa sp. n. is classified in Epiphragmophoridae based on the fact that it shares the following diagnostic features of the family: a dart apparatus with a single dart sac, and two unequal mucous glands at the terminal genitalia. Minaselates gen. n. differs from Epiphragmophora Doering, 1874 by having a granulose protoconch, shell spire with blunt apex, complex microsculpture on the teleoconch and closed umbilicus fused with the shell wall. Also, significant differences between the two genera are the presence of a long and thin kidney that extends more than half the length of the pulmonary cavity, the presence of a flagellar caecum, and a smooth jaw in Minaselates gen. n. The finding of this new species and genus is particularly significant to refine the definition of the family, since Epiphragmophoridae has been traditionally diagnosed using the same characters of Epiphragmophora. Dinotropis Pilsbry & Cockerell, 1937, the other valid genus in the family, is monospecific and is only known by the morphology of the shell. In many ways it is similar to Epiphragmophora. A cladistics analysis was made in the present study which supports Minaselates gen. n. as a different entity and as sister group of the Epiphragmophora within Epiphragmophoridae”.

Cuezzo, M.G. & Pena, M.S., 2017. Minaselates, a new genus and new species of Epiphragmophoridae from Brazil (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora: Helicoidea). – Zoologia, 34: e13240 (12 pp.). DOI: 10.3897/zoologia.34.e13230

Fossil connections

Recently a review paper appeared by Hammouda et al. (2017), in which some links between northern Africa and South America are suggested. The abstract is as follows:

“Terrestrial gastropods occur in many North African localities in Eocene continental deposits. Here we analyse the faunal assemblage from the Hamada de Méridja Formation in southwestern Algeria, dated as Early to Middle Eocene on the basis of charophytes. The assem- blage consists of three closely related species that to date have been classified either in the extant Madagascan genus Leucotaenius v. Martens, 1860, or in the SW European Eocene genera Romanella Jodot, 1957 and Vicentinia Jodot, 1957. This is rejected for shell morphological and phylogeographical reasons, and a new classification as Maghrebiola gen. nov. is proposed. Maghrebiola is tentatively placed in the South American family Strophocheilidae, as species from the Early Eocene Itaboraí Basin of Brazil, currently placed in the genus Eoborus Klappenbach and Olazarri, 1970 in the family Strophocheilidae, superfamily Acavoidea, have a very similar shell habitus. This record possibly extends the known geographical range of the Strophocheilidae into the African continent during the Eocene. Immigration of this stock into North Africa during the Cretaceous via a still existing plate connection is assumed. An attribution of Maghrebiola to the African family Achatinidae is unlikely for shell morphological reasons despite certain habitus similarities, although the Priabonian genera Arabicolaria and Pacaudiella from Oman most likely belong into this family, and not to the Vidaliellidae as originally proposed. Possible causes for the very low diversity of the assemblage are mainly unfavourable living conditions, i.e. a relatively dry climate resulting in sparse vegetation and only occasional presence of water bodies, which may have had increased salinities, accounting for the lack of freshwater mollusks. The absence of any competing large gastropods may possibly have facilitated high intraspecific variability leading to sympatric occurrence of three closely related species, due to the animals occupying a wide range of available ecological niches. As the species discussed here have also been attributed to the genera Romanella and Vicentinia in the Vidaliellidae, we provide an appendix with annotated characterisations of most genera of the Vidaliellidae and list the nominal species assigned to them. This family is tentatively placed in the South American superfamily Orthalicoidea; its stock would have similarly immigrated from South America, but have successfully colonized mainly SW Europe, with only one Eocene species [Romanella kantarensis (Jodot, 1936)] recognized in Algeria”.

This paper presents a provoking view on the relations between northern Africa, soutwestern Europe and South America during the Eocene. Perhaps food for discussion among palaeontologists?

Hammouda, S.A., Kadolsky, D., Adaci, M., Mebrouk, F., Bensalah, M., Mahboubi, M. & Tabuce, R., 2017. Taxonomic review of the ‘‘Bulimes’’, terrestrial gastropods from the continental Eocene of the Hamada de Méridja (northwestern Sahara, Algeria) (Mollusca: Stylommatophora: Strophocheilidae?), with a discussion of the genera of the family Vidaliellidae. – Paläontologische Zeitschrift, 91: 85-112.