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Posted: Jan 11 2010, 07:33 PM
Member No.: 2
Joined: 12-November 05
NOTE 3/31/12: I now doubt that this shell is C. greenii. I will be revising this presentation soon based upon recent research.
Cerithiopsis greenii (C. B. Adams, 1839) is probably a valid species with a distribution at least along the eastern seaboard of the USA from the NE to Florida and may occur on Florida’s west coast. Abbott, Malacolog and The Bailey-Matthews Museum report C. greenii as occurring on both of Florida’s coasts. The Florida Museum of Natural History does not have records of this shell from Florida. Harry Lee’s NW Florida and Peanut Island checklists do not include C. greenii and his Cedar Key checklist includes C. cf. greenii. The problem with having too much confidence in these reports centers upon the protoconch. Adams did not indicate the number of whorls composing the protoconch of C. greenii, but did indicate that the protoconch was “smooth, nearly white and pearly.” When Rolán (1995) examined the lectotype he noted that only a small portion of the protoconch was present and was “light brown.” My few samples of what I would call C. greenii have light brown protoconchs with one having a white protoconch. Based upon the ambiguity with the protoconch, the frequency that Cerithiopsis are found with the protoconch missing, and the fact that C. greenii can superficially resemble other Cerithiopsis found in Florida such as C. fusiformis, C. dominguezi, and C. academicorum, the latter two of which were only recently named in 1995, it would not be surprising to find that many shells identified as C. greenii are indeed one of these other species. The reason I question the validity of prior identifications is that, after 15 years collecting Florida shells, I have found less than a half dozen that closely fit Adams’ description and can be separated from the other three. While these four species can be separated, it does require an awareness of all of them and a close examination of the first two teleoconch whorls, which is not easy with these very tiny shells and requires significant magnification.
Redfern (2001) reported C. greenii among his Bahamian seashells, but concluded, “other workers have questioned the range of true C. greenii, which was described from Massachusetts, and this name is applied very tentatively to Bahamian material.” In his description of his Bahamian shell, he did note that the protoconch of his shells was pale brown, but did not describe the first few teleoconch whorls that are most significant in identifying C. greenii.
Cerithiopsis greenii is most often about 3 mm and may reach 5 mm. I found it very difficult to photograph this dark shell and have good resolution for the protoconch and first teleoconch whorls. So, I apologize that the photos are not better.
My thanks to Harry Lee for his review of this presentation and confirmation that the shells illustrated conform well to C. greenii. 3/31/12: Both Harry and I now doubt that this shell is C. greenii. I will be revising this presentation soon.