Freshly pressed: a new paper on the history of malacology, i.e. about the 19th Century Dutch cabinet collector H.C. Roeters van Lennep.
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.
Today an updated version of Coan & Kabat’s ‘2400 years’ appeared:
“Gene Coan and I are pleased to announce that the 2019 edition of “2,400 Years of Malacology” – a catalog of biographical and bibliographical articles about those who studied and collected mollusks and related files – is now on the website of the American Malacological Society:
Please note that the home of the AMS website has recently changed, so any links or bookmarks will need to be updated.
The 2019 edition is 1,710 pages. It includes four additional documents containing (1) collations of a number of important references for malacological systematists (111 pages); (2) collation of the Systematisches Conchylien-Cabinet (1837-1920) (65 pages); (3) collations of significant malacological journals (62 pages), and (4) an updated version of the “Annotated Catalog of Malacological Meetings, Including Symposia and Workshops in Malacology” (145 pages)”.
As usual, this is a very useful work for those who want to know who is behind all those names that are dispersed in the malacological literature, either as authors or as collectors or other persons of interest.
In the latest Shell-O-Gram newsletter of the Jacksonville Shell Club, I found this article about record-breaking Euglandina shells:
It would be interesting to know if there is any specific reason why in this population these snails become bigger than everywhere else. Plenty of food supply or just a gene going wild and producing mutants?
Gerard van Buurt sent me a press announcement about the death of a young man in Australia who had eaten a slug 8 years ago. Just for fun and stimulated by some friends. Now he died of the consequences of eosinophilic meningoencephalitis which he had contracted at that time, because the slug was infected with Angiostrongylus cantonensis.
While this was news in some major media, the majority of the victims of the disease remain anonymous. In many areas of the world this is now a risk, but one way of reducing it is: don’t eat slugs or snails; not even for fun!
Today something about policy. Often boring and uninteresting (seemingly), but sometimes politicians take decisions which are affecting the work of taxonomists. Therefore the recent paper by Prathapan et al. which appeared in the journal Science is worth mentioning.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) commits its 196 nation parties to conserve biological diversity, use its components sustainably, and share fairly and equitably the benefits from the utilization of genetic resources. This last objective was further codified in the Nagoya Protocol (NP).
The authors state that the NP mechanism seem to work out counter-productive, leading to all sorts of national legislature in biodiverse countries which hamper the study of its biodiversity by biologists. Conservation approaches are very strict and deny that effective conservation also demands the scientific understanding of species. In practice, legislative processes have been tightened in many countries to such extent that biological research has been hampered by permits. Permitting processes are sometimes becoming vulnerable to fraud and corruption, the responsible persons using their for their own benefit and blocking permits to foreign colleagues who are not their favourites. While some South American countries are playing these games and EU-based museum curators adhere strictly to the official rules, it leads to a total stand-still of taxonomic research which needs e.g. live collected animals for molecular study.
The authors, supported by 172 co-signatories from 35 countries, make a strong plea to the CBD to “do more to raise the legal curtain that has fallen between biodiversity scientists and the biodiversity that they strive to discover, document, and conserve”.
Prathapan, K.D. et al., 2018. When the cure kills–CBD limits biodiversity research. – Science, 360 (6396): 1405-1406.
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!).