Posted: Jan 3 2010

 Costoanachis avara (Say, 1822), Greedy Dove Shell

There are two galleries on this page.  So, be sure to scroll down to the second gallary.

9/19/2010 I posted the following notice on Conch-L:

"Abbott restricts the range for C. avara in Florida to the east coast. Something called C. avara has been reported from Texas and Louisiana. For the last few years James Cheshire, Granville, Ohio, has been collecting a shell in Santa Rosa Sound in Florida’s western panhandle. Although similar to C. avara, James believes it may be a different species. He sent me several shells and I compared them to the C. avara on Florida’s east coast. James’ shells look more like C. avara to me than would justify another name. We’d like to hear from others’ who have collected this shell in the Panhandle as well as opinions as to identification."


Harry Lee responded with the following comments:

"I posted a Conch-L rant on this subject a decade ago:

1/13/00 Dear James et al.,

I am posting to the list because James' image of these Dove Shells is excellent to spectacular (but deleted herefrom to avoid electronic burden), and the species in question is an attractive, interesting, and innominate one. It has no name either. It is closest to Costoanachis semiplicata (Stearns, 1873), with which it occurs where James collected it, but differs in being heavier, more brightly-colored, stockier and more angulate in profile. In my collection I have one lot from Santa Rosa Co., FL and three from the Texas coast.

It has been illustrated at least three times in the literature:

Scheltema, A. E., 1968. Redescriptions of Anachis avara (Say) and Anachis translirata (Ravenel) with notes on some related species (Prosobranchia, Columbellidae). Breviora 304: 1-19. Dec. 31. [plate 1, fig. 12].

Garcia-Cubas, A., 1982. Moluscos de un sistema lagunar tropical en el sur del Golfo de M�xico (Laguna de T�rminos, Campeche). Inst. Ciencias del Mar y Limnol. Univ. Nacional Aut�noma de M�xico Pub. Esp. 5: vii + 1-182 + 1 pl. (1981). [p. 57, fig. 60].

Vokes, H. E. and E. H. Vokes, 1984. Distribution of shallow-water marine mollusca, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Mesoamerican Ecological Institute, Monograph 1, Middle American Research Institute, Publication 54 (1983): i-viii + 1-183, incl. 50 pls. [plate 14, fig. 13].

It was misidentified in the two latter works.

Besides you, at least three other Conch-L'ers have collected it. I should like to hear from interested parties - publicly or privately.

Harry"


Marlo:  I was familiar with Harry's perspective, so in consideration of his comments I prepared two more slides for consideration:

9/19 After reviewing the above comparisons

Harry added the following comments:

"Your images are great and your argument is

well-presented. The taxon at issue is an

attractive, interesting, and innominate one. It

has no name either. I originally thought it to be

closest to Costoanachis semiplicata (Stearns,

1873), with which it occurs where James

Cheshire collected it, but it differs in being

heavier, more brightly-colored, stockier and

more angulate in profile. You have pointed out

that it may have closer affinities with C. avara

(Say, 1822). From the latter it differs in its

gaudier color pattern and the angularity of the

body whorl. The straight labrum, which is best

appreciated in a dorsal view (typically) and is

best represented by the shell on the left in

your slide with the four Santa Rosa examples.

Large series, fresh/intact specimens, and

consistent photographic positioning are

important in such a comparison. It may be that

this taxon is a Pleistocene relict of the original

C.avara stock, and, as you suggest, may be

elucidated by molecular genetic analysis.

Maybe there's a volunteer in the audience.

I feel certain Marlo and James will oblige with

living material.

Of the topical taxon (a small hedge on

"species") there are three lots from Santa Rosa

Co., FL and four from the Texas coast in my

grips. C. semiplicata is represented by 15 lots

spread pretty evenly from (W) Monroe Co., FL to Santa Rosa Co., FL. The overlap in range appears to be small. There are a dozen lots of C. avara in my collection - from MA, NJ, NC, SC, GA, and a handful of E FL counties, the southernmost record being at Palm Beach Co. (Peanut Is., Lake Worth).

The topical taxon has been illustrated at least eight times in the literature:

Andrews, J., 1971. Sea shells of the Texas coast. Univ. Texas, Austin, xvii + pp. 3-298 incl. numerous text figs. [pp. 111-112 + test fig; as "C. avara semiplicata" ]

Scheltema, A.E., 1968. Redescriptions of Anachis avara (Say) and Anachis translirata (Ravenel) with notes on some related species (Prosobranchia, Columbellidae). Breviora 304: 1-19. Dec. 31. [plate 1, fig. 12; as "Anachis sp." Aransas Bay, TX].

García-Cubas, A., 1982. Moluscos de un sistema lagunar tropical en el sur del Golfo de México (Laguna de Términos, Campeche). Inst. Ciencias del Mar y Limnol. Univ. Nacional Autónoma de México Pub. Esp. 5: vii + 1-182 + 1 pl. (1981). [p. 57, fig. 60; as "C. semiplicata"].

Puffer, E. and W.K. Emerson, 1953. The molluscan community of the oyster-reef biotope on the central Texas coast. Journal of Paleontology 27(4): 537-544 + pl. 56 [fig. 7; as "C. semiplicata"].

Tunnell, J.W., Jr., J. Andrews, N.C. Barrera, and F. Moretzsohn, 2009. Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells. Texas A&M University, College Station. xi + 1-512. July or early August. [figured three times: as "C. avara" on p. 217, and as "C. floridana" and "C. semiplicata" on p. 118].

Vokes, H.E. and E.H. Vokes, "1983" 1984. Distribution of shallow-water marine mollusca, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Mesoamerican Ecological Institute, Monograph 1, Middle American Research Institute, Publication 54: i-viii + 1-183, incl. 50 pls. [plate 14, fig. 13 as "C. semiplicata"]."

9/28
James Cheshire posted on Conch-L:

"Hi Harry,

I've uncovered an additional illustration of this species in the literature:

Parker, R.H., 1959. Macro-invertebrate assemblages of central Texas coastal bays and Laguna Madre. Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 43(9): 2100-2166 [p. 2120, fig. 18; as 'Anachis avara semiplicata']"

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