Just released: a paper by Thomas Watters dealing with the urocoptid genus Gyraxis, and describing a new species. The abstract reads “The genus Gyraxis in Hispaniola is reviewed, currently only known from the area of the Bahía de Samaná in the Dominican Republic. It includes three taxa: Gyraxis samana (Clench, 1966), G. sericata (Pilsbry, 1903) and G. excalibur new species. The radular morphology and isolation from Cuban Gyraxis suggest they may yet require a new genus”.
Watters also, when dealing with the nomen inquirendum Cylindrella gouldiana Pfeiffer, 1853, indicated this taxon has never been figured and that Crosse subsequently mentioned the first precise locality for the species (“Région Dominicaine: rochers du Tablaso, près San Cristobal (A. Sallé)”). Watters expressed “it is not clear how he knew this”. This answer is simple: Crosse always indicated behind his localities the collector of the material, in this case Sallé. The material which Crosse saw may either have been returned to Sallé or have ended up in the Crosse collection. Both collections have been dispersed after their owner’s death, and the current depository of the material is unknown.
Watters, G.T., 2018. The genus Gyraxis Pilsbry, 1903 (Gastropoda: Urocoptidae) from Bahía de Samaná area of the Dominican Republic. – Journal of Conchology, 43: 103-108.
Just announced: a new website which gives access to information (and images) of molluscan type material in the United Kingdom.
The announcement read: “The Mollusca staff of the Natural History Museum, London and the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff have been working to digitally unite the type specimens found in Mollusca collections across Great Britain into one comprehensive database.
Thanks to the John Ellerman Foundation’s Regional Museums and Galleries Fund the first phase of our project has now been released, bringing together the type collections of seven partner Museums (Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow Hunterian, Glasgow Kelvingrove, Exeter and Newcastle).
The curatorial staff from the leading institutions have been able to help research, catalogue and photograph c. 600 primary types to unite them as never before. Our online database also gives examples of handwriting to help identify type material as well as information and resources to assist in tracing historical mollusc collections including an updated Appendix IV from S.P. Dance’s ‘A History of Shell Collecting’ (1986) reproduced with kind permission of the author.
In the near future we will be adding further secondary type specimens from our phase 1 project partners as well as primary type material from the National Museum of Wales. In the longer term we will be adding more UK based type collections as further funding becomes available.”
The database presents excellent photographs and various ways to search for specimens. It is an important source for anyone looking for type material from historical collections, especially if the collector resided in the UK or the collection is known to be in museums there. However, as the illustration above shows, also unexpected finds are possible.
Freshly pressed: a review by Thomas Watters of twenty Weinlandipoma species from Hispaniola, with description of seven new taxa: W. charybdis, W. corbis, W. formonense, W. gregoi, W. pruinosum, W. silmarilium, and W. tylotum. Species are distributed on either the Massif de la Hotte or the Massif de la Selle on the Tiburon Peninsula of the island. Most are locally endemic, often confined to a single mountain peak or slope or island. All are currently susceptible to extinction.
This is another sound contribution of Watters to the malacofauna of the Caribbean area.
Watters, G.T., 2017. A review of Weinlandipoma (Gastropoda, Littorinoidea, Annulariidae) from the Tiburon Peninsula of Hispaniola: imperiled local endemics. – Basteria, 81 (4-6): 65-89.
Oliver et al. have just published an impressive paper dealing with re-located type material of Colonel George Montagu (1753-1815).
“A complete list of new molluscan taxa introduced by Col. George Montagu (1753–1815) is presented. The available type material of these taxa are itemised and illustrated. The majority are present in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter with a smaller number in the Natural History Museum, London. The historic background of both collections is reviewed with special reference to the many non-British species spuriously introduced into Testacea Britannica and its Supplement”.
I know that locating historical collections doesn’t sound like rocket-science. but in our discipline where ‘every name counts’ it is really very helpful to have type material from our deceased colleagues available for study. And, of course, the further back in time the more difficult it becomes to locate this material and track its provenance.
In the paper also some Neotropical material turned up, quite unexpected for someone who worked on ‘Testacea Britannica’ (i.c. British shells)!
Here is his Helix detrita Montagu, 1803 not Müller, 1774. It proved to be a specimen of Drymaeus elongatus (Röding, 1789), a West Indian species…
Finally, it’s worth repeating here the last lines of their paper: “It is sad to report that those with a knowledge of historic conchology are diminising in numbers and that curatorial expertise throughout the museum sector is threatening the value and access of many collections”.
Oliver PG, Morgenroth H, Salvador A (2017) Type specimens of Mollusca described by Col. George Montagu in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter and The Natural History Museum, London. Zoosystematics and Evolution 93(2): 363-412. https://doi.org/10.3897/zse.93.13073
An interesting paper was recently published by Miquel & Bungartz on micromolluscs found among Galapagos lichens and bryophytes, including a new species.
The new species is a carnivorous snail, Scolodonta rinae, and this family is reported for the firt time from the Galapagos. Other species that were encountered are Pupisoma galapagorum, P. dioscoricola, Tornatellides chathamensis, Helicina sp., and Succinea sp.
The new species was found on the island of Santa Cruz.
Miquel, S.E. & Bungartz, F., 2017. Snails found among herbarium specimens of Galapagos lichens and bryophytes, with the description of Scolodonta rinae (Gastropoda: Scolodontidae), a new species of carnivorous micro-mollusk. – Archiv für Molluskenkunde, 146 (1): 173-186.
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.).
On the “Mollusca” listserver the following newsitem was posted:
May I add another experience to it?
When Valentín Mogollón and I described a new species last year in our paper Synopsis…, viz. Thaumastus sumaqwayqu, I returned the three specimens (shells only) which served as paratypes to Peru.
Our museum staff, very well experienced in shipments of biological material, sent the material with registered mail addressed to Mogollón. And indeed, we were “very upset” when shortly after the package had been shipped, we learned that quarantaine officers in Lima had seized the package as there was a (new) form missing from the accompanying papers.
Not being able to import the type material into the country, we requested to have it returned. But to our astonishment this appeared impossible. For the return shipment too the same form about the ‘health’ of the material (shells only!) was needed…
A truly Catch-22 situation.
After some deliberation only one conclusion was possible: there was no way out and the specimens had to be destroyed. What indeed happened.