13 July 2007

A new land snail species from Turkey: Idyla aydinensis


The massive marble peak1 above the tiny village of Gökkiriş was the last station during our 1-day land snail survey of the Aydın Mountains in July 2004. The sun was setting as we were driving thru the narrow winding roads of the village when a large truck unloading building materials blocked our way. We lost several precious minutes before the truck cleared the way. When we finally got to the end of the road below the marble peak, the sun had already set. Everyone rushed out of the car and scrambled towards the rocks.

Someone announced "There are clausiliids here!" It was exciting, because we had not found clausiliids in any of our earlier stations that day. With flashlights in hand we tried to collect as many specimens as we could, but soon it was too dark to continue. We had found many shells, but only 3 intact clausiliid shells. A quick examination of them in the light of a flashlight convinced us that we had a new species. We got back in the car and headed to a restaurant for dinner.

Several weeks later back in the U.S., a careful examination of the clausiliid shells convinced me that our initial hunch was correct: we did have a new species. But I needed live specimens to dissect before I could determine the correct genus. In March 2005 Zeki and Salih went back to the same site in broad daylight, of course, and were able to find many live specimens.

The anatomy of the genitalia of those specimens put them in Idyla, a genus found in northwest Turkey, Greece and southern Bulgaria usually in high mountains. The details are in our paper that got published recently. You may download a pdf copy2 from here.

Idyla aydinensis holotype & paratype
The holotype of Idyla aydinensis and a paratype with the palatal wall of aperture removed. The clausilium plate blocking the entrance is visible within the aperture. The holotype was 17.7 mm long.

1Nothing is safe from permanent destruction during the course of the exploitation of nature. The cuts in the lower right-hand corner of the peak were made several years ago during an attempt to mine the marble. This unique landmark is scarred forever, because some idiots wanted to get rich.
2In the printed version the first line of the title was inadvertently left out. We will try to get an erratum published in a future issue of the journal.


nemo said...

Co-incidentally, that mountain peak looks like a slug of titanic proportions... Congratulations on the new discovery!

Jiří Novák said...

Dear Sir,
Congratulations to your discovery! I would like to ask you, if it is possible to have your photo of Idyla on our page www.biolib.cz


Yes, you may put the picture of Idyla on your page provided that you give my name as the photographer & also put a link to snailstales.blogspot.com

Jiří Novák said...

Thank you very much.
Here is the image on biolib: