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COLOMBIAN LANDSHELLS 

Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Located in the NW. of South America, the territory is at a crossroads between The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans; Central and South America; the Amazon basin, the Northern Andes, and the Orinoco savannah: This means an enormous wealth in variety of climates and biotopes. In terms of molluscs, Colombia is extremely rich. The subject of terrestrial malacofauna is specially interesting (due to the high degree of endemism) and challenging due to the difficulty of obtaining material, specially with accurate

collection data. (venturing into the wild can be very dangerous in some areas due to socio-political turmoil)

Written resources are not easy to obtain either, most texts and collections are jealously kept in local universities, where access is restricted for the public. Also many descriptions are centuries old and based on poor quality material; making id. even harder. At this point I better admit that this page is intended for viewing pleasure and not as a scientific resource. I have done my best to try and identify the species, but it has proven nearly impossible, as collection data has been lost or fabricated by middlemen, who want to protect their secret. Sometimes the name given is the one used by the supplyer.

 

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MEGALOBULIMIDAE

Also known as South American Megasnails. Are a big group of mostly large to very large snails, that inhabit the humid floors of savannahs and forests throughout the continent. The shells of these animals share a similar shape. These are globose and elongated, with very round proto and a large, thick-lipped mouth, that is quite large in proportion to the shell. The color ranges from creamy white to dark brown, depending on the species, and lacks pattern. The most prominent feature is the lip, which can range in color from pure white to dark pink.

Megalobulimus perelongatus Bequaert, 1948

109-95mm. Yopal, Casanare, Colombia. Smaller, dark shell from Santander del Norte, Colombia

This is a very widespread and commonly seen species. The large animal is ground-dwelling and nocturnal. They come out during the rainy seasons. Unfortunately, these are now under threat because of the expansion of invasive Lissachatina fulica, which are dreaded by farmers (who off-course cannot tell the difference and will just kill them idiscriminately)

Megalobulimus popelairianus Nyst, 1845

139.5mm. Putumayo, Colombia.

The undisputed king of south american snails, in terms of size. This species lives in the upper Amazon drainage between Colombia, Ecuador and Perú. Shells are usually covered by a thick bdark brown periostracum when live.

Megalobulimus cf. terrestris Spix, 1827

111mm. Colombia.

The pictured specimen is the only one I ever got, and sold it back in 2009. I could never properly identify it. It has a very large mouth, with white lip. The interior of the shell is tan; And the early whorls have a much warmer tone than the last whorl.

NEOCYCLOTIDAE

Are a group of operculate snails that inhabit the lower strata of vegetation in forests and bushes, the live animal is colored pinkish flesh. The country is very rich in species, and there are many which are closely related and a real challenge to tell appart, not to mention to identify! Specially since most shells are obtained dead with no operculum and poor collection data. 

Aperostoma cf. dunkeri Pfeiffer, 1856

33.2mm. Santander del Norte. Colombia.

One of several species which are very similar in shape and coloring, therefore very hard to identify correctly.

Aperostoma sp. 

43.7mm. Colombia.

A largish species, this one is very mature with an extremely rippled texture on its surface. Might be A. paezense (?)

A. cf. paezense Torre, B.&M., 1942

37.4mm. Santandercito, Cundinamarca. Colombia.

A largish species, which develops a rippled texture on its surface. It shares the color scheme of most Aperostoma.

A. cf. subcingulatum Kobelt, 1912

35.4mm. Santander. Colombia.

Very white, smoothish shell, with pink apex and very dark perio. Came identified as A. cingulatum Sowerby, 1843. (?)

A. cf. bogotense Pfeiffer, 1855

23.3mm. Cundinamarca. Colombia.

One of several species which are very similar in shape and coloring, therefore very hard to identify correctly.

Aperostoma cf. popayanum Lea, 1839

25mm. Colombia.

White shell, pink apex, very sparse and thin, yellow-greenish periostracum; a very handsome Aperostoma.

PLEURODONTIDAE

This family is represented by disc-shaped, flattened terrestrial species. Most predominantly colored in earth tones, and decorated with hevily plicated, down-turned mouths, designed to make it hard for predators to reach the animals´ soft parts. Snails of this group live in the forest floor.

Isomeria sp.

51.7mm. Quindío, Colombia.

From the Andean slopes. Could not identify. Notice the lack of protuberances in lip.

Labyrinthus annuliferus

Pfeiffer, 1851

37.1mm. Chocó. Colombia.

A very pretty species from the Pacific coast.

Labyrinthus plicatus 

Born, 1778

46.9mm. Santander. Colombia.

Not sure id. also possibly L. otis. Lightfoot.

Labyrinthus sp.

29.8mm. Chocó. Colombia.

A smallish, delicate species that has very white, deeply plicated apperture.

SOLAROPSIDAE

Are relatives of Pleurodontids, also rather flattened and have a deep umbilicus. The lips are not as thick and elaborate, and the aperture tends to be larger in general. Shells vary in size from small, to large (like the species shown here) Some of the larger species are extremely attractive.

Psdara marmatensis Pilsbry, 1852

14.2mm. Villeta, Cundinamarca. Colombia.

A very small, translucent and fragile species, which is very rarely seen: So far I´ve obtained only one specimen. It is hard to believe that these feeble little snails are related to the large and impressive Solaropsis.

Solaropsis aff. gibboni Pilsbry, 1846

55.8mm. Gachetá, Cundinamarca. Colombia.

This is from the smaller population: Shells are typically smaller 50-60mm, much darker and with a much more regular pattern. They are also thinner. I have occassionally obtained shells such as these from both Cundinamarca and Santander.

Solaropsis gibboni Pilsbry, 1846

73.2mm. Pitalito, Huila. Colombia.

The magnificent Gibboni! The depicted specimen is the largest I´ve obtained. It is an old shell, with signs of wear on its surface, and showing less even pattern in its last whorl, which is typical of these impressive shells.