Tag Archives: West Indies

New Radiodiscus

Freshly pressed: a paper by Mike Rutherford describing a new species from Trinidad. “Radiodiscus hollidayi, a new species of Charopidae, is described from the island of Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago. The description is based on conchological features alone: a tiny discoid shell with a distinct protoconch with 6–8 cordlets, fine ribs on the teleoconch, and a deep umbilicus. The snail is found in leaf litter and humus in a variety of forest habitats across Trinidad. A table compares a common set of measurements and characters across 27 other species of Radiodiscus“.

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A nice addition to the fauna of Trinidad, which still deserves an updated checklist on which the author is working.

Rutherford, M.G., 2020. A new species of Radiodiscus (Gastropoda: Eupulmonata: Charopidae) from Trinidad and Tobago. – Archiv für Molluskenkunde 149(1): 67-74.

Exotic non-marine species of Hispaniola

Just published by Agudo-Padrón is a paper on introduced non-marine species on the island of Hispaniola.

With the invaluable participatory assistance and support of local researchers, naturalists and collaborating field informants, Project AM has been developing modest taxonomic, bioecological and conservation research on the “non-marine alien molluscs” present in the Caribbean island territory of the “La Española” (Hispaniola), with special emphasis on non-native species introduced (intentional or accidentally) into their environment, so far a general total of 36 terrestrial and freshwater species (34 gastropods & 2 bivalves) have been inventoried, included in 31 genera and 21 families“.

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There is no summarising table and I spotted two dubious records: Bulimulus diaphanus and Bulimulus guadalupensis are both listed as introduced, based on a reference and record from a museum [Refs.: FMNH (s/d a); Grego & Steffec (2006: 13)]. In my 1974 paper on Bulimulus I already showed that both species have been reported on the island based on historical records, hence the listing as exotics without further sound evidence seems unwarranted.

Agudo-Padrón, I., 2020. Moluscos exóticos no marinos “introducidos” en la isla caribeña de La Española (Hispaniola), Grandes Antillas: una aproximación a su conocimiento. Revista Minerva (San Salvador) 3(1): 129-138.


Annulariid phylogenetics

A recent paper by Watters et al. gives important insight in the relation of a group from the Annulariidae. Their abstract is as follows: “The subfamily Abbottellinae of the Annulariidae has been recognized as a speciose group in northern Hispaniola. This study, using phylogenetic (COI, 12S, H3), radular, and conchological characteristics, compared this group to other non-Hispaniolan annulariids to determine their wider associations and potential origin. Results indicate that the subfamily is related to the eastern Cuban Annularisca sensu lato and that genus should be moved to the Abbottellinae. The group dates from the time when eastern Cuba and northern Hispaniola were in close contact prior to tectonic movement. This is the first such zoo- geographic connection reported for the family. The subfamily is not related to any Jamaican taxa tested. The Abbottellinae also do not occur on the southern Tiburon/Barahona peninsulas of Hispaniola, which has a different geologic history from the north. The eastern Cuban and Bahamian genus Opisthosiphon sensu lato was also shown to be a member of the subfamily. The nominal genus Abbottella is further divided into new genera based on these results. The new genera Abbottipoma, Arenabbottella, Microabbottella, and Preclaripoma are described. The new species Rolleia simonaikeni is described, and Petasipoma is synonomized with Rolleia.“.

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Another paper from this very productive lab, of which its leading figure Tom Watters recently died. It shows how the molecules combined with the external morphology presents new insights in the taxonomy of a group and also elucidates the evolution and relationships with other Annulariids.

Watters, G.T. et al., 2020. The subfamily Abbottellinae (Gastropoda: Annulariidae): origins, associations, and a review of the Hispaniolan taxa. – The Nautilus 134(1): 1-34.

Revision of Cepolis

Recently Tom Watters published one of his revisionary papers on West Indian molluscs. “The genus Cepolis Montfort, 1810 (Cepolidae) is endemic to the Tiburon and Barahona peninsulas of Hispaniola (Greater Antilles). Eight species are recognized in Cepolidae including two new species. The taxonomy of the group is hindered by references to inadequate figures, vague or missing type localities, and other nomenclatural problems. Cepolis Montfort, 1810 is here divided into three distinct genera: Cepolis, Cepolella n. gen. and Laevicepolis n. gen.
New genera: Cepolella n. gen., type species Cepolis definita Fulton, 1908; Laevicepolis n. gen., type species Helix porcellana Grateloup, 1840. New species: Cepolis isomeroides n. sp. from the Massif de la Selle of Haiti; Cepolis infissa n. sp. from the western highlands of the Sierra de Baoruco. New combinations: Cepolis definita (Fulton, 1908), Cepolis trizonaloides (Brown, 1862) and Cepolis trizonalis (Grateloup, 1840) are transferred to Cepolella n. gen.; Cepolis porcellana (Grateloup, 1840) is transferred to Laevicepolis n. gen.“.

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It is most regrettable that Tom Watters died before he could see this paper in print. It has his usual thoroughness and keen eye for details that makes his contributions so valuable for the knowledge of Neotropical biodiversity.

Watters, G.T., 2020. Review of the Hispaniolan land snail genus Cepolis Montfort, 1810 (Gastropoda: Helicoidea: Cepolidae). Novapex 21(1): 1-15.

New fossil Cerion

Harasewych is well-known for his studies on Cerionidae. He described last year a new fossil from Aruba.

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Cerion uva gouldi is described as a new subspecies to include only fossil and subfossil Cerion uva from Aruba. The name Cerion uva arubanum Baker, 1924 had previously been applied to all Cerion uva from Aruba, living and fossil. A recent molecular study has shown that Cerion uva arubanum, a taxon based on living type material from Aruba, is a synonym of Cerion uva uva (Linnaeus, 1758), with which it shares a preponderance of mitochondrial haplotypes. Cerion uva was widespread on Aruba during the Pleistocene, but became extinct on that island and was subsequently re-introduced from a population near Willemstad in eastern Curacao by humans within the past 800 years. Earlier authors had recognized that fossil Cerion from Aruba differ in morphology from those living on the island today, with fossils being more similar to specimens from western Curacao and Bonaire, while those living on Aruba today are most similar to Cerion uva uva from eastern Curacao. Cerion uva gouldi may be distinguished from living populations of Cerion on Aruba on the basis of its cylindrical rather than ovate shell shape, its more closely spaced whorls, and its round aperture with a uniform rather than anteriorly expanded parietal rim“.

Harasewych, M.G., 2019. Cerion uva gouldi, a new fossil subspecies from Aruba (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Cerionidae). – Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 132(1): 35-39.

A narrow escape?

Earlier this week I received some pictures from Gerard van Buurt (Willemstad, Curacao) showing a guave fruit brought to him with snails. The fruit came from a local supermarket. If he could possibly tell what snails they were? Van Buurt is a retired official of the Department of Agriculture on the island, and I have been in contact with him for quite some years.

The hunch was they were Succineidae, but he had no clue what species. As the sticker on the fruit indicated it was imported from the U.S.A., I contacted the owner of the supermarket chain who happened to reside in the Netherlands. To cut a long story short, the fruit came from Florida and was not only available in two shops on Curacao, but also on Aruba and Bonaire where the same chain also has shops. Alarmed by our inquiry the local manager had the fruits removed and checked.

Snails on Guava fruit 8976

Knowing that the suspected source was in the U.S.A., colleagues from USDA/APHIS were contacted for more information. They confirmed that the species is Calcisuccinea campestris (Say, 1818), which is known to be a pest species of fruit and horticultural crops. The risk of potential establishment of this species is one not worth taking.

Feeding this information back to Curacao, the danger of an unintentional introduction of yet another alien species in the Curacao malacofauna was fenced off thanks to an unknown attentive buyer of the infected fruit. Although this was a narrow escape, it is yet another example of how relatively easy it is to introduce snails via commercial activities to places where they don’t belong and can be harmful.

The concerted action of Gerard van Buurt (Curacao) and Francisco Borrero (USDA) is thankfully acknowledged.

A rare Guadeloupe species

In the flush of the ‘end-of-the-year’ papers, a brief note was published by Lenoble & Charles on a rare species from Guadeloupe. Their abstract is “A shell of Laevaricella guadeloupensis (L. Pfeiffer, 1856) (Gastropoda, Oleacinidae) was found on Mahault Ridge, within the Guadeloupe National Park. This locality is the second where this endemic species to Basse-Terre has been identified since it was listed as extinct by IUCN in 1996“.

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Besides an interesting record, it shows that one should be careful to list species as extinct, but at the same time it is clear that this specific species is extremely vulnerable.

Lenoble, A. & Charles, L., 2019. Nouvelle station de Laevaricella guadeloupensis (L. Pfeiffer, 1856), une espèce endémique rare de Guadeloupe (Mollusca, Gastropoda). – MalaCo, 15: 11-13.

Hispaniolan Annulariidae

Another brief paper on Hispaniolan land snails was published by Agudo-Padrón; this time about Annulariidae, with partly unidentified material.

Agudo-Padrón, I., 2019. Joyas malacológicas forestales de la Isla La Española (Hispaniola), Caribe insular: Apuntes acerca de los caracoles rupestres Annulariidae. – Bioma, 52: 71-76.

Hispaniolan Helicina

Recently a brief paper was published presenting a brief note on the Dominican Republic, showing the beautiful colours of helicinid species:

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Agudo-Padrón, I., 2019. Joyas malacológicas forestales de la República Dominicana, Isla La Espanola (Hispaniola), Caribe insular: informaciones preliminares disponibles y desafíos en agenda. – Bioma 51: 18-22.