Thursday, January 6, 2011

The rediscovery of Gibbula nivosa

The best known marine snail endemism in the Maltese Islands is certainly Gibbula nivosa Adams, 1851 - in vernacular, this is the Maltese Topshell. This mollusc was previously known in a 'live setting' only from St. Thomas' Bay in Marsaskala, with the ever-increasing scarcity of live individuals leading some authors to speculate on its extinction.

A paper published last November, however, sets the record straight - G. nivosa is alive and kicking (albeit in a critically endangered manner) in two localities around the Maltese Islands. You can read the original abstract here and a synopsis here.

Gibbula nivosa Adams, 1851
on a 1979 stamp

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