Tag Archives: types

Biosecurity officers alert!

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.

New Epiphragmophoridae from Brazil

Just published: a paper by Cuezzo & Pena describing a new genus and species of Epiphragmophoridae; their abstract reads as follows “We describe a new genus and a new species in the family Epiphragmophoridae, Minaselates paradoxa sp. n. The new species was found at the National Park Cavernas do Peruaçu, in northern portion of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Minaselates paradoxa sp. n. is classified in Epiphragmophoridae based on the fact that it shares the following diagnostic features of the family: a dart apparatus with a single dart sac, and two unequal mucous glands at the terminal genitalia. Minaselates gen. n. differs from Epiphragmophora Doering, 1874 by having a granulose protoconch, shell spire with blunt apex, complex microsculpture on the teleoconch and closed umbilicus fused with the shell wall. Also, significant differences between the two genera are the presence of a long and thin kidney that extends more than half the length of the pulmonary cavity, the presence of a flagellar caecum, and a smooth jaw in Minaselates gen. n. The finding of this new species and genus is particularly significant to refine the definition of the family, since Epiphragmophoridae has been traditionally diagnosed using the same characters of Epiphragmophora. Dinotropis Pilsbry & Cockerell, 1937, the other valid genus in the family, is monospecific and is only known by the morphology of the shell. In many ways it is similar to Epiphragmophora. A cladistics analysis was made in the present study which supports Minaselates gen. n. as a different entity and as sister group of the Epiphragmophora within Epiphragmophoridae”.

Cuezzo, M.G. & Pena, M.S., 2017. Minaselates, a new genus and new species of Epiphragmophoridae from Brazil (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora: Helicoidea). – Zoologia, 34: e13240 (12 pp.). DOI: 10.3897/zoologia.34.e13230

New fossil Pupoides

Cabrera & Martinez (2017) have just published a paper on minute pupillids. “A new species of Pupoides Pfeiffer 1854, subgenus Ischnopupoides Pilsbry 1926, is described for the Late Cretaceous of Uruguay (Queguay Formation), being the oldest record of the genus and subgenus. Pupoides (I.) gnocco new species is characterized by a small dextral fusiform shell, constituted by a spire comprising five slightly convex whorls, oblicuous axial ornamentation, subrounded aperture, and an expanded outer lip that lacks dentition”.

Cabrera, F. & Martinez, S., 2017. Late Cretaceous Pupoides Pfeiffer 1854 (Gastropoda: Pupillidae) from  Uruguay (Queguay Formation). – Journal of Conchology, 42 (5):333-338.

A new Oxychona from Bahia

The Journal of Conchology has recently published some papers relevant to Neotropical land snails. Today, I mention the paper by Porto et al. (2017) about Oxychona.

The abstract reads “A new species of Oxychona was found during excursions to the Michelin Ecological Reserve (13°S), Southern Bahia State (Northeastern Brazil), which comprises an Atlantic Rainforest Conservation Unit. Living snails and empty shells were collected from ground litter accumulations and kept in an artificial environment supplied with local water and sediment, feeding on leaves of almond tree (Terminalia catappa L.). The new species is described and compared with others from adjacent areas of Brazil between 13oS and 15oS including O. bifasciata, O. currani and O. maculata. Oxychona n. sp. is likely to be endemic to Bahia State, thus supporting the biodiversity and rates of endemism of pulmonate molluscs to the Tropical Atlantic Rainforest in Southern America”.

This is a very nice paper as the authors have taken the effort to include a key to Oxychona species. So, although this paper only described a single new species, it still has broader application. The authors also give anatomical and ecological details.

The main author, Beth Neves, was kind enough to send me a short film of a living specimen of the new species, which I’m happy to share here.

Porto, R., Rocha Filho, R. da, Johnsson, R. & Neves, E., 2016. New species of Oxychona (Bulimulidae) from Michelin Ecological Reserve (Bahia State, northeastern Brazil. – Journal of Conchology, 42: 105-110.

Two new Urocoptidae from Cuba

Herrera-Uria et al. (2016) described two new species from Isla de la Juventud, Cuba: Cochlodinella pinera and C. pirata. This is the first record of this genus for the island. Besides descriptions also photographs of living material is presented.

Herrera-Uria, J, Espinosa, J. & Ortea, J., 2016. Dos nuevas especies del género Cochlodinella Pilsbry & Vanatta, 1898 (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Urocoptidae) de la Isla de la Juventud, Cuba. – Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias, 28: 89-96.

New Cuban Urocoptids

In the annual journal of the Santo Domingo natural history museum, a paper appeared in which Herrera-Uria and Espinosa described two new Urocoptidae from Cuba.


“Two new species of the genera Liocallonia Pilsbry, 1902 and Tetrentodon Pilsbry, 1903 are described. These species belong to the “Miguel L. Jaume” historical malacological collection housed in the National Museum of Natural History of Cuba. Photographs of the shells are presented”.


One of the species is known only by the holotype, the second species is based on twelve specimens.

Herrera-Uria, J. & Espinosa, J., 2016. Descripción de dos especies nuevas de Liocallonia y Tetrentodon (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Urocoptidae) procedentes de la collección “Miguel L. Jaume” del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba. – Novitates Caribaea, 10: 31-37.

Did Neotropical snails occur in Africa and Europe?

Fossils allow us a peek into the past, and although a lot remains uncertain and sometimes highly speculative (no molecules but only shell morphology to start with), they offer sometimes challenging views on worlds that have gone.

What we now call the Neotropics possibly once had a wider extension, and a team of Algerian and European scientists have made a study of Algerian shells that possibly give a clue. Hammouda et al. (2017) present a review of Eocene “Bulimes” and reached interesting but still tentative results.



Their abstract reads “Terrestrial gastropods occur in many North African localities in Eocene continental deposits. Here we analyse the faunal assemblage from the Hamada de Meridja Formation in southwestern Algeria, dated as Early to Middle Eocene on the basis of charophytes. The assemblage consists of three closely related species that to date have been classied either in the extant Madagascan genus Leucotaenius v. Martens, 1860, or in the SW European Eocene genera Romanella Jodot, 1957 and Vicentinia Jodot, 1957. This is rejected for shell morphological and phylogeographical reasons, and a new classication as Maghrebiola gen. nov. is proposed. Maghrebiola is tentatively placed in the South American family Strophocheilidae, as species from the Early Eocene Itaboraı Basin of Brazil, currently placed in the genus Eoborus Klappenbach and Olazarri, 1970 in the family Strophocheilidae, superfamily Acavoidea, have a very similar shell habitus. This record possibly extends the known geographical range of the Strophocheilidae into the African continent during the Eocene. Immigration of this stock into North Africa during the Cretaceous via a still existing plate connection is assumed. An attribution of Maghrebiola to the African family Achatinidae is unlikely for shell morphological reasons despite certain habitus similarities, although the Priabonian genera Arabicolaria and Pacaudiella from Oman most likely belong into this family, and not to the Vidaliellidae as originally proposed. Possible causes for the very low diversity of the assemblage are mainly unfavourable living conditions, i.e. a relatively dry climate resulting in sparse vegetation and only occasional presence of water bodies, which may have had increased salinities, accounting for the lack of freshwater mollusks. The absence of any competing large gastropods may possibly have facilitated high intraspecic variability leading to sympatric occurrence of three closely related species, due to the animals occupying a wide range of available ecological niches. As the species discussed here have also been attributed to the genera Romanella and Vicentinia in the Vidaliellidae, we provide an appendix with annotated characterisations of most genera of the Vidaliellidae and list the nominal species assigned to them. This family is tentatively placed in the South American superfamily Orthalicoidea; its stock would have similarly immigrated from South America, but have successfully colonized mainly SW Europe, with only one Eocene species [Romanella kantarensis (Jodot, 1936)] recognized in Algeria”.



The most recent, total overview of fossil and Recent Gastropoda was by Zilch, who classified the genera Romanella and Vidaliella with others in the “?Familia Anadromidae” within the Bulimulacea [currently Orthalicoidea] (Zilch, 1960); these genera are now placed in a family on their own, but based on their morphology there might be a resemblance with the Megaspiridae (e.g. Thaumastus). The link between the Mediterranean area and South America is further shown in the presence of the Clausiliid Neniinae, which the authors use as one of their arguments for their grouping of Maghrebiola with the Strophocheilidae. All this is an interesting but not implausible hypothesis.

Hammouda, S.A., Kadolsky, D., Adaci, M., Mebrouk, F., Bensalah, M., Mahbouhi, M. & Tabuce, R., 2017. Taxonomic review of the “Bulimes”, terrestrial gastropods from the continental Eocene of the Hamada de Méridja (northwestern Sahara, Algeria) (Mollusca: Stylommatophora: Strophocheilidae?), with a discussion of the genera of the family Vidaliellidae. — Paläontologische Zeitschrift, (advance online) doi:10.1007/s12542-016-0333-5
Zilch, A., 1960. Gastropoda 2. Euthyneura. In: Schindewolf, O. (ed.) Handbuch der Paläozoologie, 6 (3–4): 401–834. Berlin: Borntraeger.