Tag Archives: orthalicidae

Venezuelan land snails

The following report was found on Facebook, with land snails data from NE Venezuela, a region for which hardly reliable data exist in literature.


foto van Ignacio Agudo.
foto van Ignacio Agudo.
foto van Ignacio Agudo.

Ignacio Agudo aan Moluscos del Caribe/ Moluscos do Caribe/ Caribbean Mollusks


Total of seventeen (17) verified species (thirteen (13) terrestrial — two (2) non-native/ exotic — and four (4) freshwater forms — one non-native/ exotic), found in “xerophytic environments” of the parish until “December 2016”, distributed in fourteen (14) genus and nine (9) families.

Important to highlight that, in addition to the three (3) other specifically native aquatic/ limnic forms, all the thirteen (13) native terrestrial species so far detected in the region “contradictorily” correspond to own forms of environments/ humid forest ecosystems ……….


– Family HELICINIDAE Férussac, 1822
Helicina tamsiana (Pfeiffer, 1850)

– Family NEOCYCLOTIDAE Kobelt & Möllendorff, 1897
Poteria fasciatum (Kobelt & Schwanheim, 1912)

– Family AMPULLARIIDAE Gray, 1824
Pomacea glauca (Linnaeus, 1758)
Marisa cornuarietis (Linnaeus, 1758)

– Family LYMNAEIDAE Rafinesque, 1815
Pseudosuccinea columella (Say, 1817)

– Family PLANORBIDAE Rafinesque, 1815
Drepanotrema lucidum (Pfeiffer, 1839)

– Family ORTHALICIDAE Albers, 1860
Bulimulus cacticolus (Reeve, 1849)
Bulimulus constrictus Pfeiffer, 1841)
Bulimulus krebsianus Pilsbry, 1897
Drymaeus multilineatus (Say, 1825)
Oxystyla abducta (Shuttleworth, 1856)
Oxystyla maracaibensis (Pfeiffer, 1899)
Plekocheilus (Eudolichotis) distortus (Bruguière, 1789)

– Family ODONTOSTOMIDAE Pilsbry & Vanatta, 1898
Biotocus (- Tomigerus) cumingi (Pfeiffer, 1849) [according to Simone, 2006: Biotocus cumingi]

– Family SUBULINIDAE Fischer & Crosse, 1877
Beckianum beckianum (Pfeiffer, 1846)
Subulina octona (Bruguière, 1798)

– Family ACHATINIDAE Swainson, 1840
Achatina (Lissachatina) fulica (Bowdich, 1822)

The adjective ‘native’ which is used here, should be considered with care. E.g., the Subulinid and Achatinid species have been introduced, and also Drymaeus multilineatus has probably been introduced in the past. The list contains thus several species which originate from elsewhere, which is no big surprise as the locality is at the coast.

Apart from some minor errors (Bulimulus and Drymaeus belong to the family Bulimulidae; Oxystyla should be Orthalicus, abducta = obductus), this is information from a country with comparably hardly good information in the malacological literature.

New paper

Faunal overviews are one of the key stones of biodiversity research, and I’m proud to announce that one of such (modest) contributions has been released fresh from the press.


The land snail fauna of several South American countries is very incompletely known despite quite extensive literature. For Bolivia there is only an incomplete and outdated list from 1953, Peru is covered by a name list only (2003), and Ecuador has a catalogue for the mainland Orthalicoidea only (2008). Other countries (Brazil, Chile, Argentina) are covered by recent works from local malacologists, and for some others (Colombia, French Guiana) recently overviews have been published, of which especially the one for French Guiana is also very useful for neighbouring countries like Suriname.

This new paper partly aims to fill that gap for Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru treating the minor families of the Orthalicoidea. Covering the three countries this synopsis summarizes all known species and part of their localities (from literature and some major EU museums). Also one new species is described. The full abstract reads: “A faunal overview is presented of the molluscan families Amphibulimidae, Megaspiridae, Odontostomidae, Orthalicidae, Simpulopsidae in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. These Central Andean countries are known for their biodiverse malacofauna, of which the superfamily Orthalicoidea takes relatively a large share. In this paper the five families containing 103 (sub)species, for which systematic information (original publication, type locality, type depository, summarizing literature) and distributional records are presented. All species are illustrated by photographs of the type material or, if this could not be located, by a reproduction of the original figure.
The following new taxon is introduced: Thaumastus (Thaumastus) sumaqwayqu spec. n. Junior subjective synonyms are established for: Plekocheilus (Sparnotion) Pilsbry, 1944 = Plekocheilus (Eudolichotis) Pilsbry, 1896; Scholvienia (Thomsenia) Strebel, 1910 = Scholvienia Strebel, 1910; Sultana (Trachyorthalicus) Strebel, 1909 = Sultana (Metorthalicus) Pilsbry, 1899; Plekocheilus (Eurytus) conspicuus Pilsbry, 1932 = Thaumastus (Thaumastus) hartwegi (Pfeiffer in Philippi, 1846); Zebra gruneri Strebel, 1909 = Orthalicus maracaibensis (Pfeiffer, 1856); Scholvienia jaspidea minor Strebel, 1910 = Scholvienia alutacea (Reeve, 1850); Bulimus bifasciatus unicolor Philippi 1869 = Scholvienia brephoides (d’Orbigny, 1835). A new status is given to Plekocheilus mcgintyi ‘Pilsbry’ H.B. Baker, 1963 (subspecies of Bulinus piperitus Sowerby I, 1837); Strophocheilus superstriatus var. prodeflexus Pilsbry, 1895 (subspecies of Bulinus piperitus Sowerby I, 1837); Thaumastus (Quechua) salteri maximus Weyrauch, 1967 (subspecies of Thaumastus (Quechua) olmosensis Zilch, 1954); Pseudoglandina agitata Weyrauch, 1967 (nomen inquirendum). New combinations are: Clathrorthalicus corydon (Crosse, 1869), and Cyclodontina chuquisacana (Marshall, 1930). Lectotypes are now designated for Bulimus incisus Hupé, 1857 and Bulinus piperitus Sowerby I, 1837”.


Breure, A.S.H. & Mogollón, V., 2016. Synopsis of Central Andean Orthalicoid land snails (Gastropoda, Stylommatophora), excluding Bulimulidae. — ZooKeys 588: 1–199. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.588.7906 (link via Publications)

Sequel to an end

Today the final part of the sequel on types of Orthalicoidea in the Natural History Museum, London was published. When I prepared my SYNTHESYS application back in 2010 for this project, one of the elements was the sentence “Good documentation of type material is crucial to establish a stable taxonomy”. Five years later and a total of 616 pages further down the line, type material of 592 taxa in this museum has been documented.

Schermafbeelding 2015-01-13 om 08.22.32

I realized that submitting such an application in 2014 during the last round of SYNTHESYS wouldn’t have been successful, after having read the answer of one of its committees on a similar proposal. “The Selection Panel detected curatorial work and pure documentation as the main purposes of your visit and therefore your application was considered a lower priority when compared to more hypothesis-driven research proposals”. Apparently this Committee has forgotten what the core activity of a natural history museum should be, and lost its way in their eagerness to pleasure policy makers who have no clue about systematics anyway. With such colleagues (and management!), the decline of taxonomy seems to be inevitable and institutions are at risk. Every new affiliation of a natural history museum with a university is one battle lost.
Nevertheless, some of you do a decent job of ‘luctor et emergo’, and hopefully we can continue…
Anyhow, for those who are still interested in the subject, you may find the paper following this link: “Annotated type catalogue of the Megaspiridae, Orthalicidae, and Simpulopsidae (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Orthalicoidea) in the Natural History Museum, London”  ZooKeys 470: 17-143, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.470.8548.

Type specimens in Rio de Janeiro

Type catalogues are the ‘telephone dictionaries’ of taxonomy. It is very convenient to have all data for a museum collection together in one publication, especially if the the collection isn’t digitalised and data is spread over many publications.

Pimenta et al. (2014) just published such catalogue for the molluscan collection of the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro (MNRJ). In total 518 type lots have been recognised, representing 247 Gastropoda taxa, 30 Bivalvia taxa, 3 Cephalopoda taxa and 5 Scaphopoda taxa. After a very brief introduction, all taxa are listed alphabetically by class and by species name; the family name is included between square brackets. Some type specimens have been figured as well. In an appendix the taxa are listed per family.

Pimenta 2014

Land snail families represented are (number of taxa between parentheses): Succineidae (2), Charopidae (1), Orthalicidae sensu lato (29), Strophocheilidae (3), Clausiliidae (2). Of the latter family two taxa are excluded as types in the main text. In some cases the family names in the list do not correspond to those presented in the appendix; especially those belonging to the Orthalicoidea are treated in a confusing way (e.g., taxa belonging to the same genus allocated seemingly at random to one of two families). The family arrangement presented is clearly not up-to-date and conflicting with recent insights.

Finally, it is clear that type material from several taxa has been exchanged or deposited in the MNRJ after the original paper had been published (e.g.  several Weyrauch taxa), or that incorrect catalogue numbers have been published in recent works. All these data makes this ‘telephone directory’ useful for future reference.

Pimenta, A.D., Monteiro, J.C., Barbosa, A.F., Salgado, N.C. & Santos Coelho, A.C. dos (2014). Catalogue of the type specimens deposited in the Mollusca collection of the Museu Nacional / UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. — Zootaxa 3780: 51–107.

Photo of the day (131): Porphyrobaphe

Recently Fred Croxen wrote me the following:

I???m a professor of geosciences at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Arizona.  I recently returned from a vacation in Ecuador and while I was exploring the western coast I visited Isla de la Plata, an island about 40 km west-northwest of Puerto Lopez.   See image below:

While touring the island I came upon an excavation that workers were digging for trail maintenance.  In the wall of the excavation were exposed land snail shells.  The shells appeared to be buried between 1.5 to 3 meters below the former surface in several horizons.  The sediments were a mix of alluvial and colluvial deposits in a steep canyon.  I have attached an image of the site.  The guide informed me that these snails were introduced by early peoples.  I???m not sure of the validity of that claim. The shells are definitely old but probably not fossil sensu strictu.  In any event, I salvaged one of the shells of which I supply images.

The first photo shows the site where the shells were found.


These are pictures of the shell for ID.


This is a specimen of Porphyrobaphe iostoma (Reeve, 1849); see my blogpost Photo of the day 109 (20 October 2010) for pictures of fresh specimens.