• An annotated type catalogue of seven genera of operculate land snails (Caenogastropoda, Cyclophoridae) in the Natural History Museum, London

      Sutcharit, C; Ablett, J; Panha, S (Pensoft, 2019-05-07)
      The collection of the seven cyclophorid snail genera housed in the Natural History Museum, London (NHM), includes 95 available species-level names belonging to the genera Pterocyclos Benson, 1832, Cyclotus Swainson, 1840, Myxostoma Troschel, 1847, Rhiostoma Benson, 1860, Scabrina Blanford, 1863, Crossopoma Martens, 1891, and Pearsonia Kobelt, 1902. Lectotypes are here designated for twelve available species-level names to stabilise existing the nomenclature. A complete catalogue of these types, including colour photographs, is provided for the first time. After examining these type specimens, an unpublished manuscript name was found and is described herein as Pterocyclos anamullayensis Sutcharit & Panha, sp. n.
    • Cryptic diversity of limestone karst inhabiting land snails (Cyclophorus spp.) in northern Vietnam, their evolutionary history and the description of four new species

      von Oheimb, Katharina C. M.; von Oheimb, Parm Viktor; Hirano, T; Do, TV; Ablett, J; Luong, HV; Pham, SV; Naggs, F (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2019-10-23)
      Limestone karsts can form terrestrial habitat islands for calcium-dependent organisms. In Vietnam, many karst habitats are threatened, while their rich biodiversity is still far from being thoroughly explored. Given that conservation of karst biota strongly relies on correct species identification, the presence of undetected cryptic species can pose severe problems. The present study focuses on cryptic diversity among karst-inhabiting land snails of the genus Cyclophorus in northern Vietnam, where specimens with a similar shell morphology have been reported from various regions. In order to examine the diversity and evolutionary history of this “widespread morphotype”, we generated a Bayesian phylogeny based on DNA sequence data. Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery (ABGD) and the Bayesian implementation of the Poisson tree processes model (bPTP) contributed to species delimitation and analyses of shell shape and size aided the morphological characterisation of individual species. We found that the examined specimens of the widespread morphotype did not form a single monophyletic group in the phylogeny but clustered into several different clades. We delimited nine different species that develop the widespread morphotype and described four of them as new. Processes of convergent evolution were probably involved in the origin of the delimited species, while their generally allopatric distribution could result from interspecific competition. Our findings indicate ongoing processes of speciation and a potential case of morphological character displacement. The high degree of morphological overlap found among the species underlines the importance of DNA sequence data for species delimitation and description in the genus Cyclophorus. Given the findings of the present study and the high potential that as yet undiscovered cryptic taxa have also evolved in other groups of karst-inhabiting organisms, we argue for a systematic and efficient detection and description of Vietnam’s karst biodiversity to provide a solid basis for future conservation planning.
    • The ‘Demange drawings’: known and unknown malacological contribu- tions of Victor Demange (1870-1940)

      Breure, ASH; Ablett, J (Cernuelle, 2016-09-01)
      In the Bavay archives a collection of drawings of Vietnamese land and freshwater snails is present, which have never been published. They originate from Victor Demange who had them made by a local raftsman. The drawings are here reproduced and some biographical data on Demange, and his contributions to malacology, are presented.
    • The first global deep-sea stable isotope assessment reveals the unique trophic ecology of Vampire Squid Vampyroteuthis infernalis (Cephalopoda)

      Golikov, A; Ceia, F; Sabirov, R; Ablett, J; Gleadall, I; Gudmundsson, G; Hoving, H; Heather, J; Pálsson, J; Reid, AL; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2019-12-13)
      Vampyroteuthis infernalis Chun, 1903, is a widely distributed deepwater cephalopod with unique morphology and phylogenetic position. We assessed its habitat and trophic ecology on a global scale via stable isotope analyses of a unique collection of beaks from 104 specimens from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Cephalopods typically are active predators occupying a high trophic level (TL) and exhibit an ontogenetic increase in δ15N and TL. Our results, presenting the first global comparison for a deep-sea invertebrate, demonstrate that V. infernalis has an ontogenetic decrease in δ15N and TL, coupled with niche broadening. Juveniles are mobile zooplanktivores, while larger Vampyroteuthis are slow-swimming opportunistic consumers and ingest particulate organic matter. Vampyroteuthis infernalis occupies the same TL (3.0–4.3) over its global range and has a unique niche in deep-sea ecosystems. These traits have enabled the success and abundance of this relict species inhabiting the largest ecological realm on the planet.
    • Mollusca Types in Great Britain: founding a union database

      Salvador, A; Ablett, J (NatSCA, 2018)
      Type specimens are essential to the study of malacology and are distributed across a wide range of museums in the UK. This initiative, funded by the John Ellerman Foundation, is the beginning of an integrated access and learning project bringing together curators from across the museum sector. Malacological curators from Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales (AC-NMW) and The Natural History Museum, London (NHM) worked with staff at seven partner museums in six UK cities. Together they developed a database and online resource connecting the Mollusca collections of National and other museums for the first time. At the time of publication, data on over 1800 type lots are available on the ‘Mollusca Types in Great Britain’ website. Since the launch in March 2018, some 1,189 users have accessed the site from over 60 countries. The database and website continue to be developed and new entries can be made at any time. The regional museum partners were given training focused on building confidence in recognising, researching, and interpreting the molluscan type specimens in their collections. The broader aims of this project were to strengthen and develop curatorial skills in specialist areas that could be transferable to other historically important natural history collections.