The family Partulidae Pilsbry, 1900 is deployed throughout the high
islands of south and western Oceania as well as New Guinea. Its
metropolis is in French Polynesia, particularly the Society Islands.
Here the nominotypical subgenus of Partula Férussac, 1819, with
over 50 species, is centered. Most P. (Partula) species are
limited to a single island even though several inter-island distances
are rather small. Although predominantly arboreal, there are several
terrestrial species. Of the four genera (eleven subgenera) in the
family, those of this subgenus distinguish themselves with a variety of
color patterns, more conspicuous in the tree-dwelling species. Most
islands have more than a single species, and ecological as well as
geographical forces seem to have driven their evolution. The steep
terrain isolates the many deep valleys, in which the snails prosper.
Besides allowing divergence of species, such topographic barriers have
allowed infraspecific variation (forms and subspecies) to evolve in taxa
distributed over relatively wide areas with varying landscape. Examples
of this include P. (P.) otaheitana (Bruguière,
below] on Tahiti and P. (P.) rosea [figs. 31-32] on Huaheine.
The type, and first-named, species of Partula is Limax faba
Martyn, 1784 (2: pl. 67), described from shells brought home to
England under the command of Captain James Cook (1728-1779), who visited
Raiatea aboard HMS Endeavour in July, 1769 on the first of his
three voyages. Because the Universal Conchologist of Thomas
Martyn (1735-1825) was not a consistently binominal work, the
International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature exercised its
plenary powers (ICZN, 1957) to declare most of its names unavailable for
the purposes of taxonomic nomenclature [nine well-known Zealand marine
gastropod species, also the product of Cook's explorations, were spared
View The Nine Species].
Fortunately Gmelin (1791: 3623) had already validated the name, as
Helix faba [fig. 10 below], which, albeit mislocalized in Tahiti,
nonetheless limited nomenclatorial confusion. By the next year, Cook material
somehow reached the French malacologist Jean Guillaume Bruguière (1749-1798)
who named the "fluviatile" Bulimus otaheitanus [see
<http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/35783#page/377/mode/1up>]. Partula were among the myriad treasures brought home
early the next century by conchologist-explorer, Hugh Cuming
(1791-1865). Known to many as "The Prince of Shell Collectors," he,
the tradition of
countryman Cook, visited French Polynesia in 1827-1828 on his first of
his three voyages of exploration in the Pacific. Cuming's Partula
species were named by Englishmen William John Broderip and Lovell Reeve
well as Ludwig
(Louis) Pfeiffer in Germany. Only a few years thereafter the great
epiphany in Partula was wrought by the labors of Americans Andrew
Garrett (1823-1887) and William Harper Pease (1824-1871). These halcyon
years will be discussed in another web feature.
Partulidae, principally the Society Islands.
Two genera, thirty-one ( 31) species, plus forms and subspecies arranged
alphabetically: locality by island.*
Row one: 1.
(Pease, 1864): *Raiatea; 2. Partula auriculata Broderip, 1832: Raiatea;
3. P. bilineata Pease, 1866: Tahaa;
4. P. callifera L.
Pfeiffer, 1856: Raiatea; 5. P. citrina Pease 1866: Raiatea;
P. crassilabris Pease, 1866: Raiatea.
Row two: 7. P. dentifera L.
Pfeiffer, 1852: Raiatea; 8. P. dubia Garrett, 1884: Tahiti;
P. elongata Pease, 1864: Moorea; 10. P. faba (Gmelin, 1791):
Raiatea; 11. P. fusca Pease, 1866: Raiatea;
12. P. garretti
Pease, 1871: Raiatea.
Row three: 13. P. hebe (L. Pfeiffer,
1846): Raiatea; 14.
Broderip, 1832: *Tahiti; 15. P.
imperforata Broderip, 1832: Raiatea; 16.
inflata (Reeve, 1842): Nuka Hiva, Marquesas;
17. P. lugubris Pease, 1864: Raiatea;
18. P. lutea Lesson, 1831: Bora Bora.
Row four: 19. P. navigatoria (L.
Pfeiffer, 1846): Raiatea; 20. P. nodosa L. Pfeiffer, 1851:
Tahiti; 21. P. nucleola Garrett, 1884: Moorea;
otaheitana otaheitana (Bruguière, 1892): Tahiti;
23. P. o.
affinis Pease, 1867: Tahiti; 24. P. o. lignaria Pease, 1864
solid brown: Tahiti; 25. P. o. lignaria Pease, 1864 banded:
Row five: 26. P. o. rubescens
Reeve, 1850: Tahiti; 27. P. o. sinistrorsa Garrett, 1884: Tahiti;
28. P. planilabrum Pease, 1864: Tahaa;
29. P. radiata
Garrett, 1884: Raiatea; 30. P. rosea Broderip, 1832 f. zonata
Huahine; 31. P. rosea Broderip, 1832 f.
cognata Garrett, 1884:
Row six: 32. P. simplaria
Huahine; 33. P. suturalis L. Pfeiffer, 1855:
Moorea; 34. P. taeniata
Mørch, 1850: Moorea;
35. P. thalia
Garrett. 1884: Raiatea; 36. P. umbilicata Pease, 1866: Tahaa;
P. varia Broderip, 1832: Huahine.
* indicates occurrence on at least one other island.
[Gmelin, J.F.] Linné, C. a, 1791. Systema naturae 13th edition,
volume 1, part 6: Vermes. Emanual Beer, Leipzig. Pp. 3021-3909. [Vermes
testacea 3202-3748]. <http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/83098#page/609/mode/1up>.
Bruguière, J.G. [ed.] and C.H. Hwass, 1792. Encyclopédie méthodique.
Histoire naturelle des vers. Tome première partie 2. Panckoucke,
Paris. Pp. 345-757. 13 Feb. <http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/35783#page/375/mode/1up>.
ICZN, 1957. Opinion 479. Opinions of the International Commission for
Zoological Nomenclature 16: 365-456. September 3.
Martyn, T., 1784-87. The universal conchologist, exhibiting the
figure of every known shell... drawn... and painted... with a new
systematic arrangement, etc. 4 vols. Martyn, London. 27 pp., 161
French-English edition with all the 80 plates of the original volumes 1
and 2 (1784) is posted on-line at <http://lib.s.kaiyodai.ac.jp/library/digital/Martyn.htm>