Süsswassergastropoden Nord- und Mitteleuropas

Submitted by Steve Wilkinson on

P. Gloer 2002, Die Tierwelt Deutschlands und der angrenzenden Meeresteile 73. Teil. Mollusca 1. Bestimmungsschlussel, Lebenweise, Verbreitung. Conch Books, Hackenheim, 327pp., 307 figs. ISBN 3-925919- 60-0. In German.

Review source

Originally reviewed by Ian Killeen in 2003.

Published in Journal of Conchology (2003), Vol.38

There has, for many years, been a need for a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the identification of freshwater gastropods. British and Irish workers have had to rely on the out-of-date and incomplete works by Macan, Ellis or Janus, or turn to continental works such as Gloer & Meier-Brook's Susswassermollusken on the German fauna, and the Dutch work by Gittenberger et al, De Nederlandse Zoetwatermollusken. This new book. The freshwater gastropods of northern and central Europe, provides a very welcome addition to the identification literature on this group of molluscs.

The countries covered by this work are: Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

The book is presented in two parts, the first, general part comprises 39 introductory pages commencing with a full systematic list followed by sections on shell features, anatomy, feeding and digestion, reproduction, ecology, dispersal, invasive/alien species, threats, collecting and curating. The second, systematic part, comprises a key to each family followed by individual species accounts. The species accounts are all written to the same formula: Name, author, date; Common or vernacular names; Selected synonymy; Type locality; Description of the shell; Biology, Ecology; Variability; Red List category (selected countries only); Distribution; Quaternary records. The accounts are supported by high quality monochrome photographs (including growth series and regional variation) and line drawings of the shells, and drawings of genital anatomy. A particularly useful feature of the work is the inclusion of a comprehensive bibliography at the end of each family section. There are 2 further reference sections at the end, one on country literature and the other on original descriptions. A small map showing the distribution of each species would have been a helpful addition.

The book describes 216 species, 193 recent plus a further 23 known only as fossils. However, the work has 2 curious omissions, whilst the marine/semi-marine Paludinella, Otina, Mysotella etc are all included, Truncatella subcylindrica and Onchidella celtica are not! Within the list, 118 species are in the family Hydrobiidae, which includes all of the central European spring snails (e.g. Belgrandia, Bythiospeum and Bithynella), the majority of which are known only from one or a handful of localities. This is the first time all of these species have been illustrated and described in a single work.

The nomenclature is likely to be unfamiliar to many British and Irish workers. It follows the recent CLECOM checklist by Falkner et al 2001 (Heldia 4: 1-76). Whilst not all malacologists are in agreement with this, it is likely to become the European stan- dard, and therefore we should become accustomed to it. This includes both generic and specific changes, with some of the most significant within the Lymnaeidae. We have tended to use the names L. peregra and L. palustris for everything equating to those two species complexes. For the peregra group, the new work uses Radix labiata (Rossmassler, 1835) , and Radix balthica (L., 1758). 'Lymnaea palustris' comprises five species in the genus Stagnicola of which S. palustris and S. fuscus have been positively recorded in Britain and Ireland (see Carr & Killeen, Journal of Conchology 38: 67). Other changes for species occurring in the British Isles include Mercuria anatina from M. confusa. The nomenclature for all of the other groups should be more-or-less familiar. Having said that Gloer follows the CLECOM checklist, there are at least 2 differences I have noticed. The checklist uses Peringia ulvae and Obrovia neglecta, whereas Gloer has reverted to Hydrobia for both species. On page 11 the following is quoted - 'taxonomic stability is ignorance', however, these nomenclatural differences between recent works are not at all helpful when they are not explained!

Overall, this is an excellent piece of work. The fact it is German should not be a deterrent, and I recommend that all malacologists and freshwater biologists working with molluscs obtain a copy.