This is a very artistic picture of a snail ‘meeting’ near Polo, Dominican Republic, with Coloniconcha prima Pilsbry, 1933 as the star player, who is clearly in a hurry. According to Ignacio Agudo the other snail is Cysticopsis sp. He gave as photographer Carlos de Soto Molinari.
These are some additional photos by Rolf Nijsse, kindly transmitted by Herman Cremers, taken during a recent trip to Puerto Rico, Luquillo Experimental Forest. They show Polydontes acutangula (Burrow, 1815), which is very similar to the species shown here but may be distinguished by its dark rim of the foot. N.B.: A recent preliminary report on the terrestrial snails of the island by Robinson & Field mentions this species as Parthena acutangula.
The classification of this group of snails (currently in Pleurodontidae) is to a large extent based on anatomical differences (see Wurtz, 1955).
The Luquillo Experimental Forest is a field station for ecological work, and snails have been the subject already for decades. A review may be found here.
Wurtz, C.B. (1955). The American Camaenidae (Mollusca: Pulmonata). – Proceedings of the Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 107: 99-143. [http://www.jstor.org/stable/4064483]
David Robinson kindly sent me a photograph taken in June 2013 at an unspecified location in the Sierra de Bahoruco, Dominican Republic. It is Coloniconcha prima Pilsbry, 1933, on which I devoted a paper in 2010. Note the peculiar shape of the tail as the snail crosses a depression of the rock on which it moves. It is able to cross gaps up to 5 cm (Breure 2010: 82).
Breure, A.S.H. (2010). The redicovery of a semi-slug: Coloniconcha prima Pilsbry, 1933 (Gastropoda, Pleurodontidae) from Hispaniola. — Basteria 74: 78-86.
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.
The Venezuelan tepuis have long been a mysterious place and geologists only recently have begun to explore the caves inside these mountains made up by sandstones. Some years ago geologists and speleologists from Czech and Slovakia set out to Chimantá massif, together with local counterparts. They explored the immense caves that are present and brought several novelties for science home. Among them some snails, collected on special request.
Now the scientific results have been compiled in a book: Venezuelan tepuis – their caves and biota (Aubrecht et al., 2012). Originally scheduled for end 2011, officially dated for 2012, it only now appears in 2013. Thanks to the determined editors, Roman Aubrecht and Jan Schögl, they succeeded in the end. A paper version of the book will appear “later (perhaps in March)“.
This book contains parts on Cave systems in Churí and Roraima tepuis, and Faunistical investigations of Pantepui biogeographical region. The chapter on the malacofauna is a review of all known species, with new data on the anatomy of some and phylogenetic results on Plekocheilus species.
My contribution on the malacofauna is slightly ‘outdated’ (so to speak); my recent paper published in Basteria (Breure, 2012) was written after the deadline for this book was closed. And another paper is in the pipeline. This subject remains intriguing for me…
Aubrecht, R., Barrio-Amorés, C.L., Breure, A.S.H., Brewer-Carías, C., Derka, T., Fuentes-Ramos, O.A., Gregor, M., Kodada, J., Kovácik, L., Lánczos, T., Lee, N.M., Liscák, P., Schlögl, J., Smida, B. & Vlcek, L., 2012 . Venezuelan tepuis – their caves and biota. – Acta Geologica Slovaca, Monograph, Comenius University, Bratislava: pp. 1-168. Available at http://geopaleo.fns.uniba.sk/ageos/archive/monograph/aubrecht_et_al_2012_monograph.pdf (NB: 163 Mb).
Breure, A.S.H., 2012. Living in isolation: Plekocheilus (P.) philippei spec.nov. from Venezuelan Guayana (Gastropoda, Amphibulimidae). – Basteria 76: 101-106.
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.