Tag Archives: publications

Pantepui snails

Just published: a chapter on the land snails of the Venezuelan Pantepui region. It is a slightly updated summary of what was published some years ago, while in the meantime only slight progress was made.

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For the species reported hitherto from this area the taxonomy is summarised, and data on the ecology and biogeography is presented.

The rest of the book presents a lot of information on this interesting area of South America, both general and on the flora and fauna. The illustrations are plentiful and often spectacular.

Breure, A.S.H., 2019. Land snails: an updated summary: 247-261. — In: Rull, V., Vegas-Villarrúbia, T., Huber, O. & Señaris, C. (eds.) Biodiversity of Pantepui: the pristine ‘Lost World’ of the Neotropical Guayana Highlands. Academic Press, Cambridge


Two new papers

Just out today are two new papers, both related to the history of malacology and linked to one of the important malacologists of the second half of the 19th century, Hippolyte Crosse.

The first paper describes the letters which Henri Drouët sent to Crosse. Quoting the abstract “The correspondence between Henri Drouët (1829-1900) and Hippolyte Crosse (1826-1898) is presented, both as the original French text and in a modern English translation; annotations are provided for the context. The main features of these 53 letters are given, and an analysis is given of the relationships with other malacologists during the second half of the nineteenth century”. The correspondence shows, among others, how divided the malacological community was at that time between followers from Bourguignat (‘Nouvelle École’) and the rest.

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The second paper looks on contacts bridging the Atlantic. Hippolyte Crosse has corresponded with many people all around the world during his editorship of the Journal de conchyliologie 1861 to 1898. From his correspondents in North America Thomas Bland and William Binney were his most important contacts, who sent him respectively 45 and 31 letters during 1863-1885. These letters are transcribed and reveal many exchanges of shells, anatomical data, but also give an impression of the wide group of American malacologists to which the two men had access. The publication date of the third livraison of the molluscan part of ‘Mission au Mexique et Guatemala’can be fixed before end of April 1873. The contacts between the three men may be best explained by closeness of friendship and scientific authority. The paper also reveals how Crosse played the role of middle-man between these American malacologists and e.g. Louis Pfeiffer in Germany.

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Both papers can be downloaded via my Publications page.

Breure, A.S.H. & Hovestadt, A., 2019. Bridging the Atlantic: the correspondence of Thomas Bland and William Binney with Hippolyte Crosse, between 1863 and 1885. – Folia conchyliologica, 49: 3-54.
Breure, A.S.H. & Audibert, C., 2019. A candid view of relations between malacologists in the second half of the nineteenth century: the correspondence of Henri Drouët with Hippolyte Crosse. – Folia conchyliologica, 49: 55-95.

Roeters van Lennep (1820-1879)

Freshly pressed: a new paper on the history of malacology, i.e. about the 19th Century Dutch cabinet collector H.C. Roeters van Lennep.

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H.C. Roeters van Lennep was one of the most famous Dutch shell collectors during the mid-19th century, for whom we here present new and additional biographical information. His collection was auctioned in 1876, but so far only a limited amount of information has been published on this topic. The details of the auction are reconstructed on the basis of his correspondence with H. Crosse. Such new information provides an insight into who buyers were during the auction, which prices were realised, and where parts of the material ended up. There ap- pears to have been a second auction in 1879 where possibly a large part of the remainder of the first auction was sold.

Breure, A.S.H. & Backhuys, W. Herman Christiaan Roeters van Lennep (1820-1879) and the auction of his collection. – Spirula, 418: 10-16.

Colonel Messager: a new paper

Freshly pressed: a new paper on the mysterious ‘Colonel Messager’ that is mentioned in the literature. This research was based on archival material in the Dautzenberg collection in Brussels, and the Messager material that is present in Paris.

The abstract reads: “We present a brief biography of Louis Gabriel Martin Messager, a French military who served in several French colonies during the last part of the 19th century and who is mentioned several time in the malacological literature as ‘Colonel Messager’. We present details on his collecting activities, also reflected in his correspondence to Bavay and Martel, and illustrated by some samples from his former collection. Also a list of eponyms is included”.

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Unfortunately we have been unable to find a picture of Messager, hence his name remains somewhat mysterious in the end.

Breure, A.S.H. & Páll-Gergely, B., 2019. More than just a name: Colonel Messager and his correspondents. – Zoosystema, 41 (2): 7-19. Link

The Linter collection

Lady-conchologists were a rare kind in the 19th century, and there are few documented collections of them, but recently a paper on Miss Linter appeared.

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The abstract reads: “Miss J.E. Linter, an English lady-conchologist, originally came from Devon but spent most of her life in Twickenham, London. Her collection was started following her acquisition of the Theobald and Skinner collections and grew to some 15,000 shells. The collection is primarily of land snails from all parts of the world and contains primary and secondary type material of authors such as Sowerby, Gude, Möllendorff, Kobelt and Strebel and probably many others. She went on to amass a collection rich in species that are invaluable to taxonomic research and to wider biodiversity studies especially concerning conservation. Her collection is held at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter”.

Morgenroth, H. et al., 2018. The Miss J.E. Linter (1844-1909) collection of land snails in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, England: a provisional assessment. – Colligo, 1 (2): 16 pp.

Morelet book launched

Last Saturday the book written by Jonathan Ablett, Cédric Audibert and myself about Arthur Morelet was presented during a meeting of the Netherlands Malacological Society in Leiden. Wim Backhuys opened with a short presentation on the Crosse archive, followed by my presentation.


The book is dedicated to the late Dolf van Bruggen and Wim Backhuys. Both he and Dolf’s widow, Mrs. Wenda van Bruggen-Gorter, received the ‘first specimens’.

I also presented a copy to Thierry Backeljau, one of the sponsors who made this book possible to distribute as a free PDF and as a low cost hard copy.

More information on the book on the NMV site; or you can directly download the book here (remind the password!).

Soon to be published: Morelet monograph

A monograph on Arthur Morelet

Those who are working with non-marine molluscs may have encountered the name of Morelet. He introduced more than 700 species names in – currently – 84 different families of land and freshwater molluscs. Who was Arthur Morelet and what has become of his huge collection?

Pierre Marie Arthur Morelet (1809-1892) was an amateur scientist who devoted himself to both shell collecting and botany. He organised several expeditions, of which those to Cuba and Central America (1846-1848) and the Azores (1857) are especially noteworthy. His contributions to malacology were thus significant and we have reconstructed his legacy with a survey of archival sources and his type material in the historical collections of several museums. 

The resulting monograph is made up of two parts. In the first part we present a bibliography, some remarks on the whereabouts of his collection, and more than 200 recovered letters (transcribed and translated) to contemporary malacologists, such as Crosse, Fischer, Baudon and Dautzenberg. His contact network has been reconstructed using data from his correspondence and his publications. This part offers an unique view into the world of malacology in the second half of the 19th century.

In the second part a bibliography of Morelet is presented, as well as all his newly introduced taxa, with detailed documentation and figures of the species. More than 80 per cent of his type material has been re-found and original figures, if they exist, have been reproduced for the remaining species. Of the taxa represented by actual shell material, more than 150 are now figured for the first time. The book has indices for both taxonomy and persons mentioned and is a must-have for anyone interested in the history of malacology and those dealing with non-marine molluscs.

The book, which has 544 pages and more than 1300 figures, is available after its launch on 23 June 2018. Thanks to financial support from Association Cernuelle (France), Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (Belgium), Natural History Museum (United Kingdom), and the Netherlands Malacological Society (Netherlands), the electronic version of the book is freely available at www.spirula.nl/andere-uitgaven/moreletEN. A printing on demand hard cover version of the book can be ordered at www.boekenbestellen.nl (search for title or ISBN) for
€ 67.50 (net price, excluding postage).

Breure, A.S.H., Audibert, C. & Ablett, J.D., 2018. Pierre Marie Arthur Morelet (1809-1892) and his contributions to Malacology. Netherlands Malacological Society, Leiden, 544 pp. 

ISBN 978-90-815230-2-8 (PDF) / 978-90-815230-0-4 (p.o.d.)