Tag Archives: West Indies

Amphibulima in Guadeloupe (2)

Lenoble et al. just published a new paper on Amphibulima patula (Bruguière, 1789); see for another paper on the same species here).

This report (in French) is about the neighbouring island near Guadeloupe, Marie-Galante where the species was found in the 1870s, as this letter from Mazé to Crosse d.d. 27.viii.1876 shows:

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The English abstract in the paper of Lenoble et al. reads “The finding of a live specimen and several fresh shells of Amphibulima patula (Bruguière, 1789) in Marie-Galante closes a one hundred-forty years long period during which the species was not observed on the island. The comparison of environmental conditions between the new locality and the historical locality where the snail is no more observed today suggests the main factor determining the occurrence of the species being a shrubby undergrowth of plants with limited seasonal variations. In Marie-Galante, such conditions can be found in shady high forest of ravine bottoms with deep soil. The extent and the fragmentation of species distribution area on the island are still to be established”.

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These semi-slugs have been reported from similar habitats in other islands (Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba). These are vulnerable habitats, and probably so the occurrence of this species on these islands is equally vulnerable for habitat destruction and climate change.

Lenoble, A. et al., 2018. Redécouverte d’Amphibulima patula (Bruguière, 1789) à Marie-Galante Petites Antilles (Gastropoda, Amphibulimidae). – Folia conchyliologica 46: 31-35.


Photo of the day (175): Amphibulima

Arnaud Lenoble (Univ. Bordeaux) was so kind to supply me with a series of photos of Amphibulima patula (Bruguière, 1789) shells collected this summer at Marie-Galante, close to the historical locality of Mazé. One of the specimens was found alive.

Amphibulima in Guadeloupe

In a paper recently published, Lenoble et al. report on fossil specimens of Amphibulima patula found on Guadeloupe and neighbouring islands.

Amphibulima patula (Bruguière, 1789) is a rare native terrestrial mollusc from Guadeloupe. The past distribution of this species, assessed by shells collected from archaeological sites, natural deposits or surface surveys, shows it previously had a wider distribution that extended across all the limestone islands of the Guadeloupe archipelago. Stratigraphical contexts and radiocarbon data suggest that the presence or abundance of A. patula is related to periods of wetter environmental or climatic conditions, indicating that environmental factors influenced past variations in the distribution of this species. Its limitation to rare ecological refuges in periods of dry climatic conditions, combined with human-induced landscape modifications, have led to significant reductions in the numbers of individuals of this species that is today threatened with extinction in the Guadeloupe Islands”.

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This is an interesting paper as it gives for the first time detailed radiocarbon data on this species, revealing the age of the fossils. The shells shown reveal an interesting variation. The paper contains also interesting information on ecological conditions and suggesting evidence for its former wider distribution.

Lenoble, A. et al., 2018. Quartenary occurrence of the rare land snail Amphibulima patula (Bruguière, 1789) in Guadeloupe (Mollusca: Amphibulimidae): ecological and palaeoenvironmental implications. – Quartenaire, 29 (2): 121-130.

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.


New Tentacle issue available

Tentacle issue 26 is available now via this link. As always a very interesting overview of short papers and notes related to the conservation of molluscs.

The issue starts with an In Memoriam for Tony Whitten (1953-2017) who, although mainly involved with conservation in Asia, has been of importance for stimulating malacologists for conservation issues. This is best illustrated by a quote from 2001 which was added by the editor: “I would venture to suggest that the majority of malacologists need to poke their heads out from the security of their shells and slither rapidly to be heard and become involved in the issues that threaten the organisms on which their careers are based. This does not mean that this topic take over your own particular speciality and distract your research programme, but it does recognize that you have a profound responsibility to do something [my italics]. The actual and potential threats to many mollusc species, and the trends, can’t get much worse”.

Related to the Neotropics, the following notes are included:

1. Espinosa, A. Measures to control Lissachatina fulica: impact on native terrestrial molluscs in the Dominican Republic.
This papers tells the story how an area of secondary forest, where in August 2017 nine endemic species were found, plus the achatinid, was a few months later completely ‘treated’ with molluscicides and deforestation.

2. Santos, S.B. dos & Miyahira, I.G. Evaluation of the list of endangered non-marine molluscs in Brasil in progress.

3. Agudo-Padron, I. Conservation of non-marine molluscs in Central Southern Brasil: revised and updated inventory of species of Santa Catarina State.

4. Salvador, R.B. et al. Presumed extinct land snail Megalobulimus cardosoi found again in Pedra Talhada Biological Reserve, north-east Brasil.

New Hispaniolan Annulariids

Already some months ago, Thomas Watters published a new revision dealing with Hispaniolan annulariids (Watters & Larson, 2017).

The annulariid genera Chondropomella, Chondropomium, and Clydonopoma are believed to have originated from the Tiburon/Barahona Peninsula in isolation from the rest of Hispaniola. Chondropomium has colonized the rift valley and adjacent river valleys between the Tiburon Peninsula and the remainder of Hispaniola. It is primarily limited to xeric lowlands, rarely found above 200 m elevation. Little is known about the rare Chondropomella but they seem to occur in the rift valley in xeric areas as well. In contrast, Clydonopoma is endemic to the Sierra Baoruco with a single species in the adjacent eastern Massif de la Selle and occupies the upland mesic forests and pine savannahs between 200–4000 m. The most widely distributed species, Chondropomium weinlandi, has been the subject of considerable confusion concerning the nature of its many color forms or subspecies, as well as its valid name. This species was investigated using phylogenetic methods and compared to congeners and related genera. A phylogenetic study aimed at elucidating relationships among these taxa analyzed a partitioned matrix of nuclear (ITS 1) and mitochondrial (CO1, 12S, 16S) DNA sequences in a Maximum-likelihood framework under the GTR+G substitution model. Contrary to Bartsch’s 1946 assessment that C. weinlandi is a complex of subspecies, it is here shown to be a single, highly polymorphic species for color. The new genus Superbipoma is recognized based on phylogenetic, radular, and conchological evidence. It contains two species: S. asymmetricum (Henderson and Simpson, 1902) and S. superbum (Pilsbry, 1933). Eleven species of Chondropomium are recognized including two new species: C. caelicum and C. sardonyx; three species of Chondropomella and nine species of Clydonopoma, including one new species, Clydonopoma titanum, are recognized. A calcified operculum is the ancestral condition for the Annulariidae. In Clydonopoma and Chondropomella the operculum is a particularly complex calcified structure termed the pseudolamella. This structure has been lost in Chondropomium and Superbipoma”.

As usual, this paper is very thorough, well organised and includes a phylogenetic study based on a multi-locus analysis.

Watters, G.T. & Larson, P., 2017. A revision of the Hispaniolan genera Chondropomella, Chondropomium, and Clydonopoma (Gastropoda: Annulariidae), with the recognition of a new genus, Superbipoma: phylogenetic, radular, and conchological evidence. – Nautilus, 131 (3):163-201.