Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A new landsnail: Plekocheilus cecepeus

Credit: Dr. Abraham S. H. Breure; CC-BY 4.0
Having been collected back in the 19th century during an expedition in South America, a rather small snail species has been sitting around on the shelves of Madrid's National Museum of Natural Sciences ever since. Covered in more than a century-old dust, it was described as new only recently when an obscure specimen placed in the long tail of a historical collection drew the attention of two researchers.

Other than its moderately small size, Plekocheilus cecepeus has been characterised with an irregular shape and narrow reddish-brown streaks running vertically across the shell. The surface is rather glossy and coloured in light chestnut-brown.

The specific name refers to the abbreviation for the ‘Comisión Científica del Pacífico’ (CCP) to honor the members of the expedition from 1862–1865, during which this new species was found. 

For the experts: Among the historical collection gathered by the ‘Comisión Científica del Pacífico’ during 1862–1865, type material was found of one of the species described on the basis of the material collected shortly afterwards. Inspection of the types revealed that only one specimen may be considered as type material of Bulimus aristaceus Crosse, 1869; this specimen is now designated as the lectotype. The other specimens are described as a new species, Plekocheilus (P.) cecepeus.

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