Friday, July 08, 2005

ENV: Not-Really-a-Cat-Friday

Be sure to check out the rest of the Friday Ark at The Modulator

I have recently acquired a series of new specimens of land snails in the genus Cerion for some comparative research i am doing. One of the species added to my series is Cerion striatellum. This genus is probably best known by the writings of Stephen Jay Gould who focused on this group and used it to help form some of his own theories about evolution (see my collection of obituaries and tributes to Gould here, here, here, and here).

The picture here is of a live Cerion striatellum taken in the West Indies, where all the various species are found. Some 600+ species have been described from the Caribbean, although Gould thought that there were more likely only about 20 species.

Striated Cerion, Cerion striatellum
Photo by Father Sanchez

In looking at some of these specimens i was struck by their resemblance to a Texas Hill Country endemic that i also work with, Goldfuss's Mitre-Snail, Holospira goldfussi (seen below). Note the deep carinated striations in both species. Various species in both genera also sport internal lamellae that often end as a tooth-like expression. Though the Cerion tend to be rather hive-shaped, there is still a general resemblance in the overall aspect of the snails' profiles.

Goldfuss's Miter-Snail, Holospira goldfussi


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