Chondropomium nobile (L. Pfeiffer, 1852)

Chondropomium nobile (L. Pfeiffer, 1852) 

Chondropomium nobile (L. Pfeiffer, 1852)

    Virgen de San Rafael waterfall area, on wall rock outcroppings alongside river (GPS: 18.01929N 071.08445W - 415 feet (127 meters) above sea level), Barahona District, SW Dominican Republic, July 29, 2010 (about 25 mm.)

Chondropomium nobile (L. Pfeiffer, 1852)
by Harry G. Lee

    The name Cyclostoma nobile [my red typeface here and hereafter] came to the attention of the scientific community on March 9, 1852 when Louis Pfeiffer (1804-1877) delivered a paper (probably read on his behalf) before the Zoological Society of London in which he described some shells collected by Monsieur Auguste Sallé (1820-1896), a malacologist known to us though several eponyms including our local Gray Auger, Hastula cinerea salleana (Deshayes, 1859), while the Frenchman was resident in Haiti. These were terrestrial snails, including Helix strumosa Reeve, 1852; see Plagioptycha strumosa (Reeve, 1852), which had reached the collection of fabled collector/dealer Hugh Cuming (1791-1865), then resident in London, and the type material is likely in the BMNH* (Sherborn, 1940; Dance, 1986). Some months later, Pfeiffer (1852: 252; species 15) published a description of this species under the name of Tudora nobilis in his monumental Monographia Pneumopomorum.

Chondropomium nobile original description

As can be seen on the image on the left, just below this Latin description he placed two entries: "Cyclostoma nobile (Tudora) Pfr. in Proc. Zool. Soc. 1852. 9 Mart." and "[Cyclostoma nobile] Chemn. ed. II. N. 390, t. 47. f. 27, 28." [see Page Two]

    At first reading, these two citations appear to index publications antedating the description above them, but the following evidence indicates that this was not the case at all.

    Although the paper Pfeiffer read was published in the "Proceedings of the Zoological Society 1852" (Zoological Society of London 1863: 44, 76, 149)
[see Page Two], later bibliographic research placed the actual date for the publication of the paper at 27 June, 1854 (Pilsbry, 1933: 127; Duncan, 1937), which clearly is after the Monographia Pneumopomorum description, i.e, L. Pfeiffer (1852) vs. L. Pfeiffer (1854a).

    The other item in this chresonymy refers to the second, or "Küster" edition of the Conchylien-Cabinet, a monograph initiated by Martini and Chemnitz, who were the principal contributors of twelve volumes appearing from 1769 to 1829. The second edition, initially under the editorship of H. C. Küster
(1807-1876), was intended to account systematically and illustrate every known mollusk. The work was released in 584 issues (Lieferungen) with taxonomic groups published intermittently and in almost haphazard sequence, comprised over 100 volumes, treated nearly 4400 molluscan species, and ran from 1837 to 1920. To say that the work is a bibliographers nightmare is hardly doing justice to this byzantine but indispensable work. Fortunately for malacologists, Francisco Welter-Schultes (1999) has provided an extensive collation of this work. This allows proper dating of the treatment of H. strumosa in the Conchylien-Cabinet, and it was in 1854 (Welter-Schultes, 1999: 168), i.e. Pfeiffer (1854b)! Since Pfeiffer was able to cite pagination and the plate/figures, it appears that he somehow had access to the Küster production, which had reached galley proof or some stage approximating that level of prepublication format. Such occurrences may not have been unusual in the expansive and convoluted production as the second edition of the Conchylien-Cabinet. Thus the proper, chronologically the first, attribution of this species is Tudora nobilis L. Pfeiffer, 1852; Pfeiffer, 1854a and Pfeiffer 1853-1854 [1854b so to speak] contain only minor revisions of that available name.

    Above I wrote "The name Cyclostoma nobile .... came to the attention of the scientific community on March 9, 1852" Well, that is a bit misleading. There is an earlier published usage of this binomen. The above unravelling of the anachronistic chresonymy in Pfeiffer (1852: 252) bears on Cyclostoma nobile Potiez and Michaud, 1838: 233. These authors
cited "Cycl[ostoma] nobile, Fer. coll." as a "?" synonym of Cycl[ostoma] blanchetianum Moricand, 1826, which species is presently placed in the genus Aperostoma Troschel, 1847. This genus is presently placed in the Cyclophoroidea: Megalomastomidae, as opposed to the Cyclophoroidea: Annulariidae, the modern placement of the Pfeiffer species (Watters, 2006: 375). Potiez and Michaud likely saw a specimen label or correspondence attributed to André Étienne Justin Pascal Joseph François d’Audebard, Baron de Férussac (1786-1836), who seems to have never formally published this binomen. Aperostoma blanchetianum (Moricand, 1826) is treated by Simone (2006, 43; figs. 42A, B). Interestingly, both Simone and the monographers Torre, Bartsch, and Morrison (1942: 244, 245) overlooked the synonymy with Cyclostoma nobile Potiez and Michaud, 1838.

    Under these unusual bibliographic circumstances, one should question whether Cyclostoma nobile Potiez and Michaud, 1838 is an available name, specifically for the purpose of [senior] homonymy. The relevant provision in the Code (ICZN, 1999) is Article 11.6 Publication as a Synonym, which reads: "[If] A name which when first published in an available work was treated as a junior synonym of a name then used as valid is not thereby made available." One relevant exception immediately follows (11.6.1): "However, if such a name published as a junior synonym had been treated before 1961 as an available name and either adopted as the name of a taxon or treated as a senior homonym, it is made available thereby but dates from its first publication as a synonym." Pilsbry (1933: 127) wrote of our topical species: "Not Cyclostoma nobile Fer., Potiez et Michaud, 1838, Galerie Moll. Mus. Douai, vol. 1, p. 233." Pilsbry's treatment of Cyclostoma nobile Potiez and Michaud, 1838 meets the ICZN criterion to make it an available name, albeit a consensus synonym of Cycl[ostoma] blanchetianum Moricand, 1826.

Cyclostoma nobile
Potiez and Michaud, 1838 an available name under the Code, any usage of Cyclostoma nobile by Pfeiffer (or any other author) after 1838 would fall into primary junior homonymy under the provisions of the Code and thus be unavailable. Before the anachronistic chresonymy in Pfeiffer (1853) was unscrambled, this appeared to be a serious issue, but Pfeiffer's usages of this binomen (L. Pfeiffer, 1854a, 1854b) were not nomenclatorial acts. As Tom Watters put it (in litt., 2 October, 2010), this issue is "moot." The mootness became even more obvious when I looked harder at the bibliography and chresonymy in Watters (2006: 113-114; 275), who had already done most of the literature review I thought I was pioneering.

    Moot it is, but this exercise in nomenclatorial forensics helps reveal the complexities of taxonomic nomenclature and the value of bibliographic collations such as that of
Duncan (1937 [with the work of Waterhouse and of Peavot therein]) and of Welter-Schultes (1999) in getting the nomenclature right. The application of such bibliographic insights allows rectification of long-standing errors in the literature, e.g., the case of Helix strumosa (see: Plagioptycha strumosa (Reeve, 1852) and the legions of misattributions uncovered by Petit (2009).

    On the taxonomic side of the story, Tudora nobilis L. Pfeiffer, 1852 was transferred to Parachondria Dall, 1905 by
Twentieth Century authors. The species is the type of Parachondria (Clydonopoma) Pilsbry, 1933: 127 not of Bartsch, 1946 as indicated by Watters (2006: 375)] by original designation. Despite its initial generic association, the subgenus Clydonopoma was treated as a synonym of Chondropomium Henderson and Bartsch, 1921: 60 (Annulariidae: Tudorinae) by Watters (2006: 62; Appendix A2), who maintained Parachondria Dall, 1905 (Annulariidae: Chondropomatinae) as a valid genus (Watters, 2006: 41; Appendix A2). In the intriguing case of Tudora nobilis L. Pfeiffer, 1852, byzantine machinations are certainly not limited to the nomenclatorial!

    I wish to thank Richard I. Johnson and Dr. G. Thomas Watters for providing lively discussion and relevant literature.

*Now called the "Natural History Museum" or the "Natural History Museum, London." It was formerly dubbed "British Museum (Natural History); BM(NH)."

Literature cited:

Bartsch, P., 1946. The operculate land mollusks of the family Annulariidae of the Island of Hispaniola and the Bahama Archipelago. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 192: 1-364 + plates 1-38. (reference).

Dance, S. P., 1986. A history of shell collecting. E. J. Brill - Dr. W. Backhuys, Leiden, 1986. pp. 1-265 + xv + 32 pls. + frontispiece.

Duncan, F. M., 1937. On the dates of publication of the Society's "Proceedings." 1859-1926. With an appendix containing the dates of publication of "Proceedings" 1830-1858, compiled by the late F.H. Waterhouse, and of the "Transactions" 1833-1869, by the late Henry Peavot, originally published in the P.Z.S. 1893, 1913. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 107: 71-84. Not seen.

Henderson, J. B. and P. Bartsch, 1921. The Classification of American operculate land mollusks of the family Annulariidae. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 58 (2327): 49-82. 8 July.
(reference - see p. 60).

ICZN (International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature), 1999. International Code of zoological nomenclature fourth edition. International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, London. pp. 1-306 + i-xxix.

Petit, R. E., 2009. George Brettingham Sowerby, I, II, & III: their conchological publications and molluscan taxa. Zootaxa 2189: (1)-218. 6 Aug.

Pfeiffer, L., 1852. Monographia Pneumopomorum viventium. sistens descriptiones systematicas et criticas omnium hujus ordinis generum et specierum hodie cognitarum, accedente fossilum enumeratione. Cassellis, Paris, London. xviii + 1-439. After July. (reference - search for "nobile.").

Pfeiffer, L., "1852" [1854a, 27 June; see Duncan]. Descriptions of twenty-four species of land shells collected by M. Sallé on the island of Santo Domingo, from Mr. Cuming's collection. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1852 20: 138-144 + plate 13. "9 March, 1852" [27 June, 1854]. Not seen; but see Zoological Society of London, 1863.

Pfeiffer, L., "1853" [1853-1854]. Cyclostomaceen. Zweite Abtheilung. Systematisches Conchylien-Cabinet von Martini und Chemnitz 1 (19) [(2)]: 229-400, plates 31-50. [1854b in the case of the topical taxon].

Pilsbry, H. A., 1933. Santo Domingo land mollusks collected by Samuel C. Pease, 1932, and by A. A. Olsson, 1916. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences 85: 121-162, figs 1-2, plates 6-11.

Potiez, V. L. V. and A. L. G. Michaud, 1838. Galerie des mollusques, ou catalogue méthodique descriptif et raisonné des mollusques et coquilles du Muséum de Douai. Tome 1. Baillière, Paris. [i]-xxxvi + 1-307. (reference - see p. 233).

Sherborn, C. D., 1940.  Where is the _____ collection? An account of the various natural history collections which have come under the notice of the compiler Charles Davies Sherborn D. Sc. Oxon. between 1880 and 1939. University Press, Cambridge (U. K.). pp [1-5] 7- [149], [verso pp. 6-148 unpaginated and blank].

Simone, L. R. L., 2006. Land and Freshwater Molluscs of Brazil. EGB, Fundação de Amaparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo. 390 pp.

Torre, C. de la, P. Bartsch, and J. P. E. Morrison, 1942. The cyclophorid operculated land mollusks of America. United States National Museum Bulletin 181: iv + 1-306 + 42 plates. 9 June. (
reference - see pp. 244-245).

Watters, G.T., 2006. The Caribbean Land Snail Family Annulariidae: A revision of the higher taxa and a catalog of the species. Backhuys, Leiden [viii] + 1-557 + 1 pl. + 8 pp. maps + 488 pp., 10 figs., 56 maps.

Welter-Schultes, F. W., 1999. Systematisches Conchylien-Cabinet von Martini und Chemnitz (1837-1920), bibliography of the volumes in Göttingen. Archives of Natural History 26(2): 157-203.

Zoological Society of London, 1863. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. Index. 1848-1860. Zoological Society of London, London. [i-iii] + 1-304. (reference - see pp. 44, 76, 149).


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