Critique Welter-Schultes AnimalBase and guide Clausiliidae

Hartmut Nordsieck (XII.2012)

The critique applies not only to Welter-Schultes' European non-marine molluscs guide for species identification, but also to the respective pages of the data base AnimalBase of which the book is composed.

1. Misleading title.

The title is misleading, because Caucasian species are not considered, instead a part of the Anatolian species.
As is generally known, Europe's boundaries are the Caucasus mountains and the Bosporus.

2. „Subgroups“ instead of subfamilies.

Some of the so-called „subgroups“ which are used instead of subfamilies are polyphyletic; this „system“ is unscientific and thus useless.
325: Mentissa in the wrong “subgroup” (5 instead of 6)

3. Non-consideration of research.

Results of recent research on Clausiliidae have not been considered.
272, 277, 281: Isabellaria (part.), Sericata, Carinigera treated as independent genera.
Taxonomic work over decades has been ignored.
345: Balea and Alinda united in one genus.
Recent publications are obviously unknown to the author (e. g., Nordsieck 2007).

4. Wrong determinations.

Figures of species (fig.) show other species, not acceptable for an identification guide.
227 Alopia glauca: fig. = A. canescens.
231: Herilla durmitoris: fig. = H. bosniensis.
234: Medora eris: fig. = M. macascarensis.
249: Albinaria grisea: fig. = A. petrosa.
259: Albinaria myrensis: fig. = A. alajana.
261: Albinaria petrosa: fig. 10-11 (profuga) = Idyla bicristata (!).
275: Isabellaria riedeli: fig. = Idyla bicristata (!).
278: Sericata calabacensis: fig. = Albinaria hians.
279: Sericata parnassia: fig. = Albinaria [Isabellaria] perplana.
282: Carinigera haussknechti: fig. = Idyla bicristata (!).
287: Euxina hetaera: fig. = Bulgarica denticulata.
305: Delima blanda: fig. 1-5 (b. blanda) = D. b. conspurcata.
323: Macrogastra mellae: fig. = M. attenuata.
330: Montenegrina perstriata: fig. 1-4 = M. skipetarica.
348: Balea viridana: fig. 6-8 = Pseudalinda stabilis (?)

5. Missing species.

Medora adensameri.
Albinaria [Isabellaria] sikeensis (only mentioned somewhere in the text).
Elia laevestriata.
Cochlodina liburnica.
Dilataria bosnica.
D. pirostoma.
Alinda elegantissima.

6. Lumping without sufficient knowledge.

Welter-Schultes denies the different taxonomic value of characters and tries to apply so-called “modern” species and subspecies concepts (see website article Subspecies concept in South European Clausiliidae). These ideas are used to call in question especially my taxonomic work on Clausiliidae, in many cases without sufficient knowledge.
The following combinations of species are apparently not based on own investigations. In many cases the details of shell and genital morphology and (or) distribution of the species concerned have not been considered or are obviously unknown to the author.
218: Pamphylica synonym of Dobatia.
219: All Sciocochlea species lumped into S. collasi.
228: Not only Alopia straminicollis, but also A. glorifica, A. nixa and A. zagani synonyms of A. livida.
The author is obviously not acquainted with the complex systematics of Alopia (Alopia) and the differences of the species.
235: Medora italiana synonym of M. macascarensis.
246: Albinaria haessleini and A. pelocarinata synonyms of A. discolor.
261: Albinaria profuga, A. mixta, A. litoraria and others synonyms of A. petrosa.
292: Sprattia pseudophrygica synonym of S. beycola.
292: Sprattia aksuensis synonym of S. blissi.
293: Sprattia aksoylari synonym of S. sowerbyana.
The author has apparently problems concerning the determination of Sprattia species.
298: All Clausilia (Strobeliella) species lumped into C. whateliana.
301: Cochlodina inaequalis synonym of C. laminata.
318: Macedonica pangaionica synonym of M. schatzmayri.
329: Montenegrina dedovi synonym of M. laxa.
333: Muticaria neuteboomi synonym of M. syracusana.
339: Siciliaria eminens synonym of S. crassicostata.
348: Balea nordsiecki synonym of Pseudalinda stabilis.
351: Bulgarica erberi synonym of B. denticulata.
351: Bulgarica fraudigera, B. varnensis, B. urbanskii and others synonyms of B. fritillaria.
353: Bulgarica stolii and B. serbica synonyms of B. vetusta (though belonging to different subgenera!).
The author is obviously not acquainted with the systematics of Bulgarica (Bulgarica) and the differences of its species to those of Bulgarica (Strigilecula).
[Revision of Albinaria from Crete with lumping of several species not discussed here. See also website article Subspecies concept in South European Clausiliidae].

7. Acts against stability of nomenclature.

Names which are in use since decades are replaced by other ones, in part on grounds of special interpretations of nomenclatural rules.
226: Alopia cyclostoma instead of A. pomatias (in use since 1996, art. 59.3. ICZN).
256: Albinaria maculosa instead of A. schuchii.
287: Euxina promta instead of E. pontica.
309: Delima substricta instead of D. amoena.
321: Macrogastra basileensis, attenuata, lineolata (three names, a remarkable offer to the user!) instead of M. attenuata (the name basileensis was misconceived within the species by subsequent authors, the name attenuata not).
322: Macrogastra latestriata instead of M. borealis.
350: Bulgarica bulgarica instead of B. bulgariensis.
345: Balea biplicata instead of Alinda biplicata.
Plicaphora Hartmann 1841 (not 1844) is a nomen oblitum; besides, the author does not consider recent research (see 3.).
349: If anybody, as indicated by Welter-Schultes, has the glorious idea, to use for Bulgarica O. Boettger 1877 the name Strigillaria Vest 1867, he should consider that there is another synonym, Striolaria Bielz 1867, which has priority.
Also the rejection of several names proposed by Küster on wrappers of tables and cited by Küster or L. Pfeiffer later on is based on a special interpretation of art. 8.1.1. ICZN. The permanent scientific record demanded by the article is given by the citing subsequent authors. See also Bank (2011: 16-17).

8. Nomenclatural mistakes.

Research on nomenclature is a major part of the work of Welter-Schultes, but there are still some mistakes (junior synonyms, wrong names, authors or dates).
231: Herilla bosniensis Zelebor 1868, not L. Pfeiffer.
233: Medora agnata L. Pfeiffer 1842, not L. Pfeiffer 1848.
298: Clausilia whateliana Charpentier in Strobel 1850 (name and description by Charpentier (art. 50.1.1. ICZN), Strobel's improved description is not that of a new species).
302: Cochlodina marisi Bielz 1861, not L. Pfeiffer 1868.
303: Cochlodina triloba O. Boettger 1877, not 1878.
310: Dilataria marcki Zelebor 1868, not L. Pfeiffer.
324: Macrogastra tumida Rossmässler 1836, not 1835 (tumida „Menke“ sensu Rossmässler not identical with tumida “Ziegler”!).
348: Balea serbiana Welter-Schultes 2012 junior synonym of Pseudalinda golesnicensis A. J. Wagner 1914 (replacement name superfluous).
350: Bulgarica bulgarica Küster 1860 (if not 1855) junior synonym of B. intricata Mousson 1859.
352: Bulgarica pavlovici H. Nordsieck 1972 valid replacement name for Clausilia pygmaea Moellendorff 1873 [non Potiez & Michaud 1838, if not non Rossmässler 1836].
355: Laciniaria potochensis Dedov & Neubert 2006 junior synonym of Alinda atanasovi Urbanski 1964.
355: Laciniaria pseudostabilis Westerlund 1901 junior synonym of L. exalta Westerlund 1878.

9. Incorrect distribution maps.

The maps for the following species are more or less incorrect, some totally wrong. A guide should be reliable what concerns the ranges of the species.
220: Serrulina serrulata (incorrect within BG and RO).
221: Agathylla abrupta (not whole of southern Dalmatia).
223: A. lamellosa (not whole of Dalmatian coast).
223: A. narentana (not major part of Dalmatian coast, only two localities!).
225: Alopia bielzii (A. b. clathrata obviously unknown to the author).
227: Alopia glauca (incorrect within RO, not in Ukraine).
233: Medora agnata (range much larger).
235: M. lesinensis (not on Hvar!, occurring in MNE).
236: M. stenostoma (restricted to Biokovo).
237: Triloba sandrii (not in MNE, but occurring in MK).
256: Albinaria maculosa (= A. schuchii) (not in whole of western central Greece and Epirus).
259: Albinaria nivea (not in whole of southern Peloponnese).
287: Galeata schwerzenbachii (incorrect within BG).
294: Charpentieria clavata (not east of Garda lake).
296: Clausilia bidentata (also distributed in northwestern E and P).
300: Cochlodina fimbriata (incorrect within I and F).
303: C. triloba (wrong, C. liburnica included?).
305: Delima giselae (unclear).
309: D. substricta (location of Smokvica wrong).
310: Dilataria marcki (wrong, D. bosnica included?).
312: Julica schmidtii (incorrect within Friuli).
316: Macedonica macedonica (not in BG and MK).
322: Macrogastra densestriata (not in western North Tyrol and Italy).
323: M. mellae (incorrect within Piedmont).
323: M. plicatula (not in RO).
329: Montenegrina laxa (not in MNE).
335: Papillifera solida (not in Sicily).
340: Siciliaria gibbula (not in Calabria, southeastern Puglia and Sicily).
341: S. kobeltiana (incorrect within Calabria, not in Basilicata).
342: S. paestana (not in southern Calabria, southeastern Puglia and Sicily).
344: S. vulcanica (not only Sicily).
346: Balea pancici (location wrong).
348: B. viridana (incorrect within RO).
351: Bulgarica denticulata (incorrect within BG and GR).
353: B. rugicollis (not in BG).

10. Poor illustrations.

It is difficult to understand why many illustrations of the guide are so poor. On about 25 pages specimens which look like subfossil ones are figured. Other specimens have not been cleaned before being photographed. For a guide it is decisive to present good figures of the species; this makes determination easier.


Bank, R. A. (2011): Authorships and Publication Dates in Malacology: some notes on the 2011 French Checklist of Welter-Schultes & al. – Mitt. dtsch. malakozool. Ges., 86: 13-24.

Nordsieck, H. (2007): Balea Gray 1824 and Alinda H. & A. Adams 1855 are separated as genera (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora: Clausiliidae). – Mitt. dtsch. malakozool. Ges.,
77/78: 27-30.

Welter-Schultes, F. (2012): European non-marine molluscs, a guide for species identification: A3 + 675 pp., with 78 pp. quick identification. – Göttingen (Planet Poster Editions).

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