Photo of the day (83): Pleurodonte isabella

Pleurodonte isabella (Férussac, 1822) is a neotropical land snail from the family Pleurodontidae. It is also known as “Pleurodonte sp. Barbados” among snail pet keepers. It is variable in color: it can be brown, yellow, orange, blue or purple.

Pleurodonte isabellaIt is endemic to Barbados. It is widespread and abundant there. It inhabits natural environment as well as disturbed habitats. There is wet season and dry season in Barbados. Temperature ranges from 21 to 31 °C. But snails keepers recommend to keep this species in temperature 22-24 °C and in humidity 70-80 %.

It is herbivorous species. It is nuisance occasionally when it eats gingers Zingiber sp. and heliconias Heliconia sp. flowers. It was also reported as a pest on Citrus.

Various right side views:
Pleurodonte isabellaPleurodonte isabellaPleurodonte isabellaI also tested, if Pleurodonte isabella eat Canna indica ‘Auguste Ferrier’. It is cultivated variety with reddish leaves. This flower occurs in the same areas as Pleurodonte isabella, but it has molluscicidal activity. Various extracts of Canna indica kills freshwater molluscs, because it is nerve agent to them. I found that, that Pleurodonte isabella avoid eating this plant in terrarium. So it seems that they are clever enough to not poison itself.

The width of the shell of this specimen is 18 mm, the height of the shell is 13 mm.

Umbilical view:
Pleurodonte isabellaI did not identify this species by myself. I was able to get some information about ecology of Pleurodonte isabella, but I failed to get information about proper identification of the species. I am glad that an expert in Neotropical malacolofauna helped me in identification/verification.

References

Ciomperlik M. A. , Robinson D. G., Gibbs I. H. , Fields A., Stevens T. & Taylor B. M. (2013). Mortality to the Giant African Snail, Lissachatina fulica (Gastropoda: Achatinidae), and Non-Target Snails using Select Molluscicides. Florida Entomologist, 96(2): 370-379. DOI: 10.1653/024.096.0257.

Pollard G. V. & Alleyne E. H. (1986). Insect pests as constraints to the production of fruits in the Caribbean. In: Pests and Diseases as Constraints in the Production and Marketing of Fruits in the Caribbean. IICA, 31-61. page 43.

Tripathi, S. M., & Singh, D. K. (2000). Molluscicidal activity of Punica granatum bark and Canna indica root. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 33(11): 1351-1355. DOI: 10.1590/S0100-879X2000001100014.

Tripathi, S. M., Singh, V. K., Singh, S., & Singh, D. K. (2004). Enzyme inhibition by the molluscicidal agent Punica granatum Linn. bark and Canna indica Linn. root. Phytotherapy Research, 18(7), 501-506. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.1168.

https://pleurodonteisabella.wordpress.com/pleurodonte-isabella-in-captivity/ Accessed December 8, 2018.

https://pleurodonteisabella.wordpress.com/breeding-pleurodonte-isabella/ Accessed December 8, 2018.

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Photo of the day (82): Palaeotachea

These are photos of a shell of a snail from the genus Palaeotachea from the Early or Middle Miocene of the Pfaffenhofen district in Bavaria, Germany. I thank my friend and paleomalacologist Rodrigo B. Salvador who has kindly shared the following photos. Paleomalacologist is a biologist who study prehistoric molluscs.

The genus Palaeotachea belongs to the subfamily Helicinae, within the well known family Helicidae. All species of the genus Palaeotachea lived in the Early or in the Middle Miocene and all of them are extinct now. There are recognized at least 11 species within the genus. It was hypothetized that Palaeotachea species lived in habitats varying from from scrublands to humid woods. In the middle of the Middle Miocene something happened and all Palaeotachea species died out. Instead of them other species from the other genus – Megalotachea sylvestrina also from the family Helicidae – started to thrive.

This certain shell is possibly Palaeotachea silvana. That means it is an interesting species worth to know for everybody who is interested in Tertiary of Europe.

Palaeotachea

Apertural view of Palaeotachea. Photo by Rodrigo B. Salvador, CC-BY-4.0.

Palaeotachea

Apertural view of Palaeotachea. It is the previous image rotated to the main position. Photo by Rodrigo B. Salvador, CC-BY-4.0.

When will you rotate the image into the main or standard position like this, you can much more easily measure the width and the height of the shell. The width of this shell is about 21 mm.

Palaeotachea

Apical view of Palaeotachea. Photo by Rodrigo B. Salvador, CC-BY-4.0.

Palaeotachea

Apical view of Palaeotachea. It is just rotated the previous image. Photo by Rodrigo B. Salvador, CC-BY-4.0.

So what’s interesting in Palaeotachea silvana?

Palaeotachea silvana (Klein, 1853) is an extinct species, that has lived in Middle Miocene.

The specific name silvana is an adjective of the Latin word silva, that means forest or wood. Unfortunately I do not know why the author has chosen this specific name. It was described by physician of the German army (Generalstabsarzt, it is a second highest military rank for physicians in the army) and naturalist Adolf von Klein (1805–1891 or 1892) from Kingdom of Württemberg (now Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany). The description was published in local journal Jahreshefte des Vereins für vaterländische Naturkunde in Württemberg that could be translated as Yearbook of the Association for Natural History in Württemberg. He described this species under the name Helix silvana in 1853. Later other names were used for this species: Cepaea silvana (Klein, 1853) and Megalotachea silvana (Klein, 1853). These names are considered as synonyms.

Helix crepidostoma Sandberger, 1872 is the type species of the genus Palaeotachea. But the Palaeotachea silvana can be considered as the most important species of the genus. Palaeotachea silvana is an index fossil. Index fossil is a species that is a common and widely distributed in a certain relatively short period. Palaeotachea silvana is an index fossil of Silvana Beds. It is also spelled Silvana-beds, and Silvanaschichten or Silvanakalk in German language. Silvana Beds got its name directly after this species. Palaeotachea silvana is most commonly found fossil in Silvana Beds. Silvana Beds’ range is from 15.8 to 13.8 myr (millions years ago). This means that range of Silvana Beds approximately correspond to older part of the Middle Miocene. Palaeotachea silvana is known at least from the following countries: Hungary, Austria, Baden-Württemberg in Germany and Bavaria in Germany.

The width is some shells of Palaeotachea silvana usually reach about 22 mm, but unusually big shells may have shell width up to 28 mm. There are sometimes visible by naked eye or under the UV light two or three bands on shells of Palaeotachea silvana, but this specimen has no bands. The shell has 4 – 4½ whorls. For other details about shell description see both works Salvador et al. 2015.

The mean annual temperature in the Central Europe in the Middle Miocene was about 19 °C. Yes, it was really hot those days.

References (sorted chronologically, newest first)

Höltke, O.; Salvador, R. B.; Rasser, M. W. 2018. Miocene continental gastropods from the southern margin of the Swabian Alb (Baden-Württemberg, SW Germany). Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie, Abhandlungen 287(1): 17–44. DOI: 10.1127/njgpa/2018/0704.

Salvador, R. B.; Höltke, O.; Rasser, M. W. 2018. Miocene continental gastropods from Dischingen, Germany. Palaeodiversity 11(1): 11–19. DOI: 10.18476/pale.11.a2.

Salvador, R. B.; Tütken, T.; Tomotani, B. M.; Berthold, C.; Rasser, M. W. 2018. Paleoecological and isotopic analysis of fossil continental mollusks of Sandelzhausen (Miocene, Germany). Paläontologische Zeitschrift 92(3): 395–409. DOI: 10.1007/s12542-017-0400-6.

Salvador, R. B. & Rasser, M. W. 2017. Fossil terrestrial and freshwater Gastropoda from the Early/Middle Miocene of Heuchlingen, Germany. Archiv für Molluskenkunde 146(2): 233–241. DOI: 10.1127/arch.moll/146/233-241.

Salvador, R. B.; Höltke, O.; Rasser, M. W. 2017. Fossil land and freshwater gastropods from the Miocene of Hohenmemmingen, Germany. Palaeodiversity 10: 41–48. DOI: 10.18476/pale.v10.a4.

Höltke, O.; Salvador, R. B.; Rasser, M. W. 2016. Paleobiogeography of Early/Middle Miocene terrestrial gastropods in Central Europe: an approach using similarity indices. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 461: 224–236. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.08.027.

Salvador, R. B. & Rasser, M. W. 2016. Fossil land and freshwater gastropods from the Middle Miocene of Bechingen and Daugendorf, southwestern Germany. Archiv für Molluskenkunde 145(1): 111–124. DOI: 10.1127/arch.moll/1869-0963/145/111-124.

Salvador, R. B. & Rasser, M. W. 2016. The fossil land and freshwater snails of Oggenhausen (Middle Miocene, Germany). Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia 19(1): 41–52. DOI: 10.4072/rbp.2016.1.04.

Salvador, R. B.; Höltke, O.; Rasser, M. W.; Kadolsky, D. 2016. Annotated type catalogue of the continental fossil gastropods in the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart, Germany. Palaeodiversity 9: 15–70. DOI: 10.18476/pale.v9.a3.

Salvador, R. B.; Pippèrr, M.; Reichenbacher, B.; Rasser, M. W. 2016. Early Miocene continental gastropods from new localities of the Molasse Basin in southern Germany. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 90(3): 469–491. DOI: 10.1007/s12542-016-0291-y.

Salvador, R. B.; Prieto, J.; Mayr, C.; Rasser, M. W. 2016. New gastropod assemblages from the Early/Middle Miocene of Riedensheim and Adelschlag-Fasanerie, southern Germany. Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie, Abhandlungen 279(2): 127–154. DOI: 10.1127/njgpa/2016/0546.

Salvador, R. B.; Rasser, M. W.; Höltke, O. 2015. Fossil gastropods from Miocene Lake Randeck Maar and its hinterland (SW Germany). Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Abhandlungen, 277(3): 251–273. DOI: 10.1127/njgpa/2015/0505.

Salvador, R. B.; Sach, V. J.; Valentas-romera, B. L. 2015. The fossil continental mollusks in the Upper Freshwater Molasse (Middle Miocene) of the districts of Biberach, Ravensburg and Neu-Ulm, Germany. Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia 18(2): 201–216. DOI: 10.4072/rbp.2015.2.02.

Klein A. v. 1853. Conchylien der Süßwasserkalkformation Württembergs. – Jahreshefte des Vereins für vaterländische Naturkunde in Württemberg, 9: 203–223. Plate 5, figure 2.

2018 exhibition of invertebrates in Charles University in Prague

There was an exhibition of live invertebrates in Botanical garden of Charles University in Prague in June 2018. The exhibition was named “Big exhibition of invertebrates”. It deserve such name. It focus on invertebrates from the Czech Republic and there were numerous of them.

Big exhibition of invertebratesBig exhibition of invertebrates
There were also number of visitors. I liked to see visitor’s faces when they became surprised by the size or appearance of some animals. Children are always fascinated by animals. Also adults were fascinated by insect and other invertebrates which they never seen before. It was common to hear parents saying things like this to children: “These caterpillars are so cool!!! I have to take a photo of you with them!” And so on.

Big exhibition of invertebratesMolluscs are also invertebrates so there were some freshwater bivalves and freshwater gastropods and land gastropods:

GastropodsGastropodsThere was also an interesting species associated with gastropods. There were the following Succinea putris amber snails crawling on a Petri dish:

Succinea putris with Leucochloridium paradoxumTwo Succinea putris snails. Each of them has one Leucochloridium paradoxum in the left tentacle.

There is a parasite inside the tentacle of these snails. The parasite is a trematode species with the name Leucochloridium paradoxum. They have a life cycle with the intermediate host like other trematodes. The intermediate host of Leucochloridium paradoxum are Succinea snails. When the snail eat a dropping from an infected bird, the parasite will start to grow in the snail’s body. The parasite extends a part of its body into a tentacle of the snail. Then the tentacle looks like a caterpillar and it is pulsating to attract attention of birds. When a trust bird (family Turdidae) will eat the infected snail, the life cycle is complete.

It was the third year of this exhibition and I highly recommend to visit it next time.

References

Velká výstava bezobratlých 2018

Photo of the day (81): Helicina inaequistriata

Helicina inaequistriata is a species of a land snail from South America. This species is known from Brazil only. It belong to the family Helicinidae that is distributed in tropical and subtropical countries.

I thank my friend and colleague Rodrigo B. Salvador who has kindly shared the following photos for readers of this blog:

Helicina inaequistriata alt

Two live Helicina inaequistriata snails from Cabo Frio Island, Brazil. Photo by Salvador et al., CC-BY-4.0.

These photos accomplish the 2014 article by Rodrigo B. Salvador and his colleagues published in the Check List journal.

The right snail in the above image is the one already mentioned in the paper as a lot stored in the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil under the catalog number MZSP 115369. Its shell was depicted on figures 3-6. The width of the shell is 9.4 mm. The height of the shell is 6.6 mm.

The following photo is slightly bigger one than on a published plate:

Helicina inaequistriata shell

Four views of the shell of Helicina inaequistriata. Photo by Rodrigo B. Salvador, CC-BY-4.0.

The following image show umbilical view of the shell of Helicina inaequistriata and ventral view of the snail. It shows its extended foot and its tentacles with the position of eyes.

Helicina inaequistriata

Helicina inaequistriata. Photo by Salvador et al., CC-BY-4.0.

Such tentacles of a land snail resemble for example Pomatias land snails from Europe, but they are not closely related. While the Helicina from the family Helicinidae belongs to the subclass Neritimorpha, the Pomatias from the family Pomatiidae belongs to the subclass Caenogastropoda. It is a nice example that snails have likely become terrestrial animals more than once during the evolution of gastropods. (At least nine times in fact.)

References

Salvador R. B., Silva N. G., Alves R. J. V., Moura R. L. & Simone L. R. L. 2014: New records of Helicina inaequistriata (Gastropoda: Helicinidae) from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo states, Brazil. Check List 10(4): 936-938. doi: 10.15560/10.4.936.

2018 exhibition of molluscs of Vysočina Region in Museum of Highlands

There is an exhibition of molluscs of Vysočina Region in Jihlava. The exhibition is held in Museum of Highlands (Muzeum Vysočiny Jihlava) in Jihlava from April 27 to June 10.

The exhibition is quite unique, because it focus on local malacofauna of the Vysočina region. No other exhibition about non-marine molluscs of the Czech Republic or of its part was held yet.

I thank to Pavel Bezděčka, the curator, who provided following photos of the exhibition.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Exhibition of molluscs of Vysočina Region. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Shells of various freshwater snails. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Shells of freshwater snails. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Shells of land snails. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Shells of various small species of land snails. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Helix thessalica, Helix pomatia and Cepaea hortensis shells. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Sinistral and normal dextral shell of Helix pomatia. Normal dextral and sinistral Cepaea hortensis. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Examples of historical publications of molluscs of Vysočina Region are represented mainly by works by Hans Canon. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Examples of recent research publications about molluscs of Vysočina Region. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

One of 14 panels at the exhibition. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Information panels and shells of freshwater snails. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Slugs are on photos only. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

There is also an aquarium with live gastropods. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

There are also shells of bivalves Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Shells of bivalves. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Exhibition of molluscs of Vysočina Region. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

Molluscs of Vysočina Region

Shells of bivalves. Photo by Pavel Bezděčka, CC-By-4.0.

References

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Photo of the day (74): eggs of Arion obesoductus

This is a cluster of eggs of a land slug Arion obesoductus.

It was laid by a specimen, that I captured in central Moravia at October 26, 2017. I captured only one slug and it later laid this cluster of four eggs in captivity. At least two slugs successfully developed and hatched out from these eggs.

I am not sure if there are any informations available about the life cycle of Arion obesoductus. I do not know if laying of four eggs is a rule or exception. Arion obesoductus is a small slug with a maximum body length of 25 mm. So laying clusters with small number of eggs makes sense. Otherwise these eggs looks like any other eggs of slugs from the Arionidae family as well as similar to eggs of many other land gastropods.

The cluster of eggs at December 13, 2017:
eggs of Arion obesoductus

The same cluster of eggs at December 18, 2017:
eggs of Arion obesoductus

References

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Photo of the day (70): Parmarion martensi

This land gastropod is Parmarion martensi. It belongs to family Ariophantidae. Some gastropods from this family has a reduced shell. The shell can be so small in some Ariophantidae species, that they can not retract into it. Such gastropods are called semi-slugs.

I thank my friend Doubravka Požárová, the botanist from Charles University in Prague, who kindly provided the following photos to readers of this blog:

Parmarion martensi

Dorsal view of Parmarion martensi from eastern Bali. Photo by Doubravka Požárová, CC-BY-4.0.

Parmarion martensi

Left side view of Parmarion martensi from eastern Bali. Photo by Doubravka Požárová, CC-BY-4.0.

Photos were taken in the surrounding of Lempuyang Temple (Pura Lempuyang Luhur) in the eastern Bali, Indonesia in 2014. It was crawling on the road. I identified the species according to photos only.

Parmarion martensi can reach body length up to 45 mm. It has caudal horn on its tail, but it is not clearly visible on this photo. This species is very variable in color.

Parmarion martensi is native to Southeast Asia. Unfortunately it is able to spread by human activies. It has established in Fiji, Samoa and Hawaii. It was also recorded in the USA. It can be a pest on agricultural crops, but not serious one. Moreover it can transfer nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis, that can cause human disease. Therefore it is an important species and for example it is quarantine species in the USA.

References

Brodie G. & Barker G. M. (2012). “Parmarion martensi Simroth, 1893. Family Ariophantidae“. ‘USP Introduced Land Snails of the Fiji Islands Fact Sheet Series’, No. 1

Cowie R. H., Dillon R. T., Robinson D. G. & Smith J. W. (2009). “Alien non-marine snails and slugs of priority quarantine importance in the United States: A preliminary risk assessment”. American Malacological Bulletin 27: 113-132.

Hollingsworth et al. (2007). “Distribution of Parmarion cf. martensi (Pulmonata: Helicarionidae), a New Semi-Slug Pest on Hawai‘i Island, and Its Potential as a Vector for Human Angiostrongyliasis“. Pacific Science 61(4): 457-467. doi:10.2984/1534-6188(2007)61[457:DOPCMP]2.0.CO;2

Photo of the day (69): Vitrina pellucida

Vitrina pellucida is a small land snail in the family Vitrinidae. It is widely distributed in the Holarctic and it is very common species.

There is visible mantle appendix (extension of the mantle that slightly cover the shell) and open pneumostome (breathing pore) on the photo:

Vitrina pellucidaYou can find them in autumn much more easily. They are fully grown up to 10 mm in body length in autumn. Then they will lay eggs and die. The next generation will hatch out from eggs at spring. Therefore you can not usually find adult Vitrina pellucida at (late) spring (depending on country).

I was mushroom hunting in Moravia on October 14, 2017. I found this snail altogether with two juvenile Lehmannia marginata slugs on a Xerocomellus chrysenteron mushroom.

Vitrina pellucida and two Lehmannia marginataVitrina pellucidaDoes the Vitrina pellucida eat mushrooms? I do not know. But what does it eat?

British malacologist John William Taylor (1845-1931) wrote in 1914: “Vitrina pellucida has an almost omnivorous appetite, and is credited with feeding upon Liverwort (Jungermannia platyphylla), mosses, fallen leaves, and decaying vegetable matter. It is also carnivorous, being said by Dr. Baudon to voraciously devour raw mutton, and will also feast upon the bodies of dead or dying worms and animals of its own or other species.”

Falkner et al. wrote in their dataset in 2001:
Deciduous forest litter 2
Lichens (gen.) 1
Epilithic/epiphytic 1
Living algae 1
Higher plants (gen.) 2
Dead 2
Carnivorous/saprophagous 2

This can be read (approximately) in human language: Vitrina pellucida eat sometimes deciduous forest litter and dead plants. It is sometimes carnivorous and/or saprophagous. Rarely it also feeds on epilithic and/or epiphytic lichens and on living algae.

Both authors does not mention fungi. Falkner at al. ignored information, that it eats mosses (although mosses have its own column in the dataset and although they cited Taylor in the reference section), but they listed lichens. Among hundreds of references listed at the end on the book only, it impossible to practically detect where informations comes from.

References

Falkner G., Obrdlík P., Castella E. & Speight M. C. D. 2001: Shelled Gastropoda of Western Europe. München: Friedrich-Held-Gesellschaft, 267 pp.

Horsák M., Juřičková L. & Picka J. 2013: Měkkýši České a Slovenské republiky. Molluscs of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Kabourek, Zlín, 264 pp. (in Czech and English). page 112 and page 34.

Taylor J. W. 1914″ Monograph of the land and freshwater Mollusca of the British Isles. Zonitidae, Endodontidae, Helicidae. Leeds, page 7.

Photo of the day (67): Limax cinereoniger

Limax cinereoniger is a big land slug in the family Limacidae.

I found this one underside the mushroom in the wood in Moravia, Czech Republic:
Limax cinereonigerAlthough it is thought to be the longest land slug species, it is shrinked like this:
Limax cinereonigerIt seemed a bit pale and especially the foot was very pale. I have taken it and taken no photo of the foot. It has great color variability, but the mantle is unicolor always and the sole has three color parts always.

I have taken photos of the same specimen 26 days later. It grow up and the three color parts of the foot are visible more clearly:

Limax cinereoniger footLimax cinereoniger foot with a ruler:

Limax cinereoniger footDetail of the foot:

Limax cinereoniger foot detailGeneral view:

Limax cinereonigerReferences

Horsák M., Juřičková L. & Picka J. 2013: Měkkýši České a Slovenské republiky. Molluscs of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Kabourek, Zlín, 264 pp. (in Czech and English). page 115.