Thursday, February 3, 2011

Species spotlight IX

Tudorella melitense (Sowerby, 1847)
Xlendi, Gozo

Tudorella melitense (Sowerby, 1847) is the only snail with an operculum ('door') which is native to the Maltese Islands. Under a 'biological species definition' it may be considered to be a local variety of Tudorella sulcata (Draparnaud, 1805), which also occurs in Sicily; Pfenninger et al. (2010)*, in their work on the DNA of Tudorella, consider it a lineage which is only found in the Maltese Islands.

Għajn Tuffieħa, Malta

The shell is very variable, and may be orange, white or purple, with or without bands.

Għajn Tuffieħa, Malta

*Pfenninger, M., Véla, E., Jesse, R., Arantzazu Elejalde, M., Liberto, F., Magnin, F., Martínez-Ortí, A., 2010. Temporal speciation pattern in the western Mediterranean genus Tudorella P. Fischer, 1885 (Gastropoda, Pomatiidae) supports the Tyrrhenian vicariance hypothesis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 54: 427-436.

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