Tag Archives: publications

Petit de la Saussaye

Just published: a study about Petit de la Saussaye, the founder of the Journal de conchyliologie in 1850. The paper gives a short biography, his bibliography, a list of his described taxa and some of his correspondence that was found in an archive.

Breure, A.S.H. & Backhuys, W., 2017. Sauveur Abel Aubert Petit de la Saussaye (1792–1870), his malacological work and taxa, with notes on his correspondence. – Archiv für Molluskenkunde, 146: 71-96.

New Scutalus from Chile

Freshly published: a paper with the description of a new species from northern Chile. The species, of which only shells were collected, is tentatively assigned to the genus Scutalus. This genus is hitherto not recognised in Chile, but occurs more northern in the coastal area of Peru.

The abstract reads “A new species of Scutalus Albers, 1850 (Gastropoda: Bulimulidae), Scutalus chango sp. n., is described from a coastal area of northern Chile. Empty shells of this new species were found buried in sand and under boulders and rocks in the foothills of the Chilean Coastal Range at Paposo, Región de Antofagasta. This new species is distinguished from all other Chilean terrestrial snails by its slender shell with a flared and reflected aperture, and by the presence of a columellar fold. This is the first record of Scutalus in Chile, and the southernmost record for this endemic South American bulimulid genus. The presence of this species in Paposo highlights the need for further research and for conservation guidelines in coastal areas of northern Chile, which have comparatively high levels of biodiversity and endemism”.

Araya, J.F. & Breure, A.S.H., 2017. A new terrestrial snail species (Gastropoda: Bulimulidae) from the Región de Antofagasta, northern Chile.  PeerJ 5: e3538 (11 p.).

Morelet and the Neotropics

Arthur Morelet (1809-1892) was a French amateur malacologist who has contributed much to malacology (nearly 100 publications, describing more than 700 taxa). He was one of the first malacologists who personally went on expedition to the Neotropics; a trip lasting more than a year during 1846-1848 which yielded nearly 150 new species collected on Cuba, and in Mexico and Guatemala. A few of these are illustrated below (scale: 5 mm).

The advantage of collecting in an unexplored area is indeed the reward to find many species new to science. But the legend above also shows one of the problems (possibly one of the least!) which Morelet faced: there was no Zoological Record or BHL mid-19th century, so there was a chance of introducing a name already used by someone else. Nevertheless, about 2/3 of the species described by Morelet from this expedition are still bearing his author name today.

In the 19th century not every author was able to give precise type localities; often they had to rely on information given by field collectors. So another advantage of collecting your own material: you knew where it had be found. Morelet, in many cases, gave (relatively) good locality data, but still described a number of species with a (relatively) imprecise locality; like “sylvis provinciae Vera-Paz”, a huge area.

As I had come across Morelet and his material for quite some years, I decided it was time to make an in-depth study of this man and his contributions to malacology. Since much of his type material has ended up in the London museum, Jonathan Ablett was willing to join me in this effort. And after more than 200 letters of Morelet became available, Cédric Audibert (Lyon) joined in as well. Together we are busy preparing a bio-bibliography with a list of taxa, illustrated with type material of as much taxa as possible. The transcription and translation of his correspondence will make it possible for the reader to get a much better idea of the life of a malacologist during the late 19th century. Currently we have located about 80% of his type material in several European and some American museums. The remaining taxa will be illustrated with reporductions from the original figures if these are available. Since Morelet started his career as a draftsman, he always paid special attention to the illustration of his papers.

To my surprise nobody has made an attempt to reconstruct the expedition of Morelet to the Neotropics, which brought him not only to the three countries mentioned above but also in Belize. Morelet was not only gifted with a special interest in malacology, but also in history and literature; his library had many travel accounts on its shelves. As Central America was largely unexplored in the 1840s, he published a few years after his taxonomic descriptions also a travel account of his own journey, aimed to a larger public, with many details on the geography and history of the areas visited. These two books allowed me, with some close reading, to reconstruct his trip.

One of the interesting things I discovered was the description of some species from areas, e.g. from eastern Cuba, which he apparently never visited. González Guillén (2014: 147) assumed that Morelet had confused the habours where his ship landed in eastern Cuba. However, from Morelet’s travel account it is clear that he never visited eastern Cuba. He must therefore have received the material from this area, on which he based his descriptions, from another person.

Our monograph is scheduled to appear during Spring 2018 as a book published by the Netherlands Malacological Society. The figures have been taken from a preliminary study which was just published (Breure, 2017).

Breure, A.S.H., 2017. Een expeditie naar de Neotropen: reconstructie van Arthur Morelet’s reis naar Centraal Amerika, 1846-1848. – Spirula, 411: 4-11.[Dutch]
González Guillén, A., 2014. Polymita, the most beautiful land snail of the world. – [Miami]: Estévez & Associates, 359 pp.

New paper

This weekend a new paper was published related to the history of Neotropical malacology. It deals with three Polish naturalists who either collected in the Neotropics (Jelski, Stolczman) or received their material and published about it (Lubomirski).

Schermafbeelding 2017-04-02 om 08.48.45

The paper originated during my visit to Warschau in 2015, where I studied the Lubomirski collection. As we decided for the Archives of Natural History, we quickly learned that they would not publish to the underpinning data. These lists of new taxa and eponyms of the three persons is now available in an unabridged version at ResearchGate.


Two papers on CCP snails

Two papers were published, one very recently and one today, related to the material collected by the ‘Comisión Científica del Pacífico’ (CCP). This material was collected during an expedition that lasted from late 1862 to  early 1866 through several Neotropical counties. The material has been deposited in the Madrid museum and was originally studied by Hidalgo (terrestrial molluscs, marine gastropods) and Martínez (marine bivalves).

The terrestrial material has been restudied during a SYNTHESYS project last year, and has resulted in two papers. One dealing with the CCP material and the history of the expedition (Breure & Araujo, 2017), and one dealing with the publication date of Hidalgo’s main paper on the CCP material and related correspondence from him with Crosse in Paris (Breure & Backhuys, 2017).

The link to the first paper is here.

Due to an unfortunate coincidence at the proof stage (we unexpectedly received only one proof), the following corrections were not made in the published version:
Fig. 3 in the text (page 4) correspond to Fig. 2B
Fig. 4 in the text (page 5) correspond to Fig. 3A
Fig. 5 in the text (page 6) correspond to Fig. 3B
Fig. 6 in the text (page 6) correspond to Fig. 4A
Fig. 7 in the text (page 7) correspond to Fig. 4B
Fig. 8 in the text (page 9) correspond to Fig. 5A
Fig. 9 in the text (page 10) correspond to Fig. 5B
Fig. 10 in the text (page 12) correspond to Fig. 6A
Fig. 11 in the text (page 12) correspond to Fig. 6B
Then, after Fig. 11 in the text, appear Figs. 7A-7B (page 17) that actually correspond to the Figures 7A and 7B; later (page 17) appears Fig. 8G-8H that correspond to Fig. 8.
Finally, Fig. 27H does not depict Bostryx rouaulti as the wrong shell was photographed.

Breure, A.S.H. & Araujo, R. The Neotropical land snails (Mollusca, Gastropoda) collected by the ‘Comisión Científica del Pacífico’. — PeerJ 5: e3065 (142 pp.).
Breure, A.S.H. & Backhuys, W. Science networks in action: the collaboration between J.G. Hidalgo and H. Crosse, and the creation of ‘Moluscos del Viaje al Pacifico, Univalvos terrestres’. — Iberus 35: 11–30.

An obituary: Dolf van Bruggen

Together with Edi Gittenberger and Ton de Winter, I published an In memoriam of the late Dutch malacologist Dolf (A.C.) van Bruggen in the latest number of Basteria. It contains his malacological bibliography, his new taxa (additional to those published already in 2009), and an analysis of his work. As said before, although this is not related to strict Neotropical malacology, he was a dear friend and will be very missed.


Breure, A.S.H., Gittenberger, E., Winter, A.J. de, 2016. In memoriam Dr A.C. van Bruggen 1929-2016. – Basteria 80: 161-170.

New paper published

Dautzenberg again! After my paper on the autographs in the Dautzenberg archives, a second paper on this malacologist was published yesterday. It is based on Dautzenberg’s reprint administration, which allowed a reconstruction of his contacts network and an analysis with regards to different aspects; one of these was the ‘status’ of each person (‘amateur’, ‘professional’ or ‘dealer’).


The paper was published in a special number of Basteria, dedicated to Rob M. Moolenbeek.