Spondylus tenuis Schreibers, 1793 Digitate Thorny Oyster

Spondylus tenuis Schreibers, 1793 Digitate Thorny Oyster

South Florida - [Ragged Keys, Molasses Reef] (40-68 mm.)

Spondylus tenuis Schreibers, 1793 and S. ictericus Reeve, 1856

By Harry G. Lee

Spondylus tenuis Schreibers, 1793 and S. ictericus Reeve, 1856

    There is a reasoned discussion of the synonymy of the variable Spondylus tenuis Schreibers (1793: 163-164: <http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/81334#page/183/mode/1up>) in Huber (2010: 215, 628). Since there is no extant type specimen, the latter author proposed the name be based on the figure cited by Schreibers (Chemnitz, 1786: pl. 115, fig. 987; Fig. 1 herein; edited only to remove adjacent figures and captions)

    Apparently, Sherborn (1902: 8) was the first to recognize Schreibers' Versuch, which he consistently treated as an available work, recognizing numerous taxa in Spondylus. Cox (1929: 254), after analyzing all Schreibers' Spondylus, concluded they were varietal names only, as "that acceptance of Schreibers' names would bring about a revolution in the whole specific nomenclature of the genus" (M. Huber, personal communication 29 March, 2012). Contrary to Cox's opinion, Lamy (1938) accepted the work and the spondylid names as available but attributed all of Schreibers' Spondylus names to the earlier (but now officially unavailable) nomina provided by Chemnitz or Schröter (Huber, idem). Lamprell (1986, 1987, 1989, 2006) seems to have been the first to actually put Schreibers' Spondylus nomina into popular circulation, and he treated S. tenuis as a possible senior synonym of S. ictericus Reeve, 1856 (pl. 11, fig. 40), which type figure is Fig. 2 herein. He maintained that "most authors now consider that these names were introduced validly" (Lamprell, 2006: 10). Certainly that was a bit of a stretch (R.E. Petit, personal communication, 6 December, 2008), but since Huber (2010: 70) found the Versuch to be "clearly binominal," and considering the strength of the his overall presentation, I am inclined to follow him on the thorny (oyster) synonymy.

Acknowledgment: I thank Markus Huber (Zürich, Switzerland) for enlightening discussions of Schreibers' work.

Chemnitz, J.H., 1786. Neues systematisches Conchylien-Cabinet 9. Kaspischen Buchhandlung, Nürnberg. [i-xii] + 1-151 + [i]-xxvi + 1-194 + pls. 103-136 [figs. 875-1270]. On-line at <http://archive.org/details/neuessystematisc91786mart>.
[All plates (in B&W) with annotations reprinted in Richardson, L., R. T. Abbott, G.  M. Davis (eds.), 1979. Early references to the figures in the Conchylien Cabinet of Martini and Chemnitz: volumes I - XII. Tryonia 2, parts 1, 2: 427 pp., 432 pls., 70 vigns. 1 August.]

Cox, L.R., 1929. On the varietal names for Spondylus in K. Schreibers' Versuch einer vollständigen Conchylienkenntniss (1793). Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 18: 251-254. [not seen]

Huber, M., 2010. Compendium of Bivalves. ConchBooks, Hackenheim, Germany. [1]-901 [in addition, there is a CD constituting chapters 5 and 6: the latter is also in the print version]. August.

Lamy, E., 1938. Révision des Spondylus vivants du MNHN de Paris. Journal de Conchyliologie 82: 177-214; 265-306. [not seen]

Lamprell, K., 1986. Spondylus. Spiny Oyster Shells of the World. Robert Brown and Associates Pty., Ltd. Bathurst, Australia. 1-86 incl. 36 plates. [not seen]

Lamprell, K., 1987. Spondylus. Spiny Oyster Shells of the World. E.J. Brill - Dr. W. Backhuys, Leiden, Netherlands. 1-84 incl. 36 plates.

Lamprell, K., 1989. Spondylus Notes on the American species. American Conchologist 17(1) 6-9. March.

Lamprell, K., 2006  Spiny Oysters: A Revision of the Living Spondylus Species of the World. Jean Lamprell, Brisbane, Australia. 1-119 incl. 40 plates.

Reeve, L., 1856. Monograph of the genus Spondylus. Conchologia Iconica 9. 18 plates, unpaginated facing plate explanations, 1 p. index. January to June.

Schreibers, K. 1793. Versuch einer vollständigen Conchylienkenntniß nach Linnes System. Zweyter Band. Von den Muscheln. J. von Kurzbeck, Vienna. [1-12], 1-446 [447]. On-line at <http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/81334>.

Sherborn, C.D., 1902-1933. Index animalium sive index nominum quae ab A. D. MDCCLVIII generibus et speciebus animalium imposita sunt. London.
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