Tag Archives: urocoptidae

New Urocoptid from Hispaniola

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.



Cuban Callonia

The family Urocoptidae is very species-rich in Cuba, and the genus Callonia is but a small representative of this family, albeit very aesthetically. González-Guillén et al. (2017) just published a paper on this group.

Specimens of all western Cuban species of Callonia are illustrated, together with images of live animals and their habitat, followed by comments about recent field work. The putative relationships among species based on the morphological characteristics of last whorl soluteness and rib shape-orientation could be biased. Seemingly ecologic equivalent pairs C.loweiC.dautzenbergiana and C.elliottiC.gemmata are much alike in external appearance although genetic similarities, which have not yet been assessed, could be higher between species sharing the same range. A co-occurrence of Callonia snails with blackish lichen is discussed, raising the inference that Callonia use lichens as food source”.

These ecological observations are worth to be further explored. The putative hypothesis about the relations between the Callonia species can only be verified with molecular analysis.

Many thanks to Gijs Kronenberg for sharing this interesting paper.

González-Guillén et al., 2017. Insights on the genus Callonia (Mollusca: Urocoptidae) from Western Cuba. – The Festivus, 49 (4): 332-338.

A brief Barbados visit

Today I saw the paper published by Franke already in 2015. Because of its interests for this blog, it is summarised here.

During a short visit to Barbados, the author found specimens of Pseudopineria barbadensis Kraus, 1996 and describes its habitat. From the same site a second species is reported, Truncatella barbadensis Pfeiffer, 1856.

Franke, S., 2015. Fundortbestätigung: Pseudopineria barbadensis Kraus 1996 (Pulmonata: Urocoptidae) auf der Insel Barbados. – Mittheilungen Club Conchylia, 25: 19-22.

Pinning down Tenuistemma

Under this (beginning of the) title, Uit de Weerd & Fernández has just made available a paper on the distribution and relationships of an Urocopitid species from eastern Cuba.

We report an extraordinary case of local and extreme shell-morphological differentiation within a group of otherwise relatively uniform eastern Cuban land snails. Analyses of multi-copy nuclear (ITS2) and of mitochondrial (COI) DNA sequences congruently place the ‘genus’ Tenuistemma, occurring monotypically on the Yunque de Baracoa mountain in eastern Cuba, within the more wide-spread species Pleurostemma perplicata from adjacent lower areas. This result is in sharp contrast with patterns of variation in supposedly diagnostic shell-morphological characters, namely (1) differences in both shell form and shell sculpture between Tenuistemma and P. perplicata, (2) the shell- morphological coherence of paraphyletic P. perplicata and (3) the resemblance between P. perplicata and phylogenetically and geographically more distant species placed in Pleurostemma. We conclude that Tenuistemma evolved from P. perplicata on the Yunque de Baracoa, a process that probably started between 0.01 and 1.42 million years ago. The remarkable set of shell features distinguishing Tenuistemma from P. perplicata probably evolved as a result of unique local selection pressures, possibly affecting multiple characters linked in shell development. This study provides a basis for further research into the evolutionary processes behind this remarkable morphological transition. To render the genus Pleurostemma monophyletic, we propose to transfer P. perplicata to the genus Tenuistemma”.

This research is interesting as it hypothesises on the local evolution of snails under different factors. As such there is a link to research on carinated species, of which a paper on Peruvian Bostryx is currently being prepared.

Uit de Weerd, D.R. & Fernández V., A., 2017. Pinning down Tenuistemma (Pulmonata: Urocoptidae): local evolution of an extreme shell type. – Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, XX: 1-12. DOI: 10.1093/biolinnean/blx041

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.

Urocoptidae revisited

Uit de Weerd et al. (2016) have published a paper on the evolutionary history of biogeography of the land snail family Urocoptidae. It is a sequel following previous papers of Uit de Weerd dealing with the Caribbean region.

The authors reconstructed the phylogeny of Urocoptidae based on multi-locus (partial 28S, H3 and COI sequences) analyses (MrBayes, BEAST, GARLI) of 65 species, representing 44 recognized genera. Biogeographical analyses of a subset of the time-calibrated BEAST trees were made both with (DEC and DEC+J analysis in BioGeoBEARS) and without (S-DIVA in RASP) palaeo-geographical assumptions. In the DEC and DEC+J analyses we examined the effect of different settings for dispersal between directly connected areas relative to that between areas without direct land connection. Urocoptidae has been present on the Greater Antilles Arc from at least Middle Eocene onwards. Morphologically diverse and previously unrecognized clades evolved on most Caribbean (palaeo)islands. Jamaica was colonized at least twice. Dispersal multiplier matrices with moderately constrained dispersal between areas without direct land connections describe the phylogeographical history of the family with higher DEC and DEC+J lnL scores than uniform matrices. Urocoptids constitute an old element of the Greater Antillean biota, predating a proposed GAARlandia landspan connection to South America. The biogeographical history and evolution of Urocoptidae were shaped primarily by the geographical distribution of Caribbean landmasses, in combination with occasional oversea dispersal. Oversea dispersal allowed colonization of palaeogeographically isolated areas, such as Jamaica and present-day western Cuba, where presumably the absence of ecological competitors led to independent radiations into similar shell types. A follow-up paper will be dealing with the taxonomic consequences of this study.


With the representation of 44 genera out of the total 65 recognized genera within the family, this is a comprehensive molecular analysis. No other Caribbean family has been treated this way, thus this study provides unique insights and helps to test competing biogeographical theories about land snail distribution in this region.

Uit de Weerd, D.R., Robinson, D.G. & Rosenberg, G., 2016. Evolutionary and biogeographical history of the land snail family Urocoptidae (Gastropoda: Pulmonata) across the Caribbean region. – Journal of Biogeography (early online access) http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/jbi | doi:10.1111/jbi.12692