Friday, 24 May 2019

Laocaia simovi: A new species of Semislug from Vietnam.

Semislugs are terrestrial Gastropods with much reduced shells. Unlike true Slugs they have not lost their shell completely, though they cannot withdraw into it, and it is often internal. Semislugs are not a single taxonomic group, occurring in a number of Pulmonate Gastropod families, with about two thirds of terrestrial 'Slugs' actually being Semislugs. The genus Laocaia currently comprises two species of Semislugs in the Family Helicarionidae (which contains both Semislugs and Snails) from Fansipan Mountain in northwest Vietnam.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 16 May 2019, Ivaylo Dedov of the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Ulrich Schneppat of Malix in Switzerland, Manh Quang Vu of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Food Industry, and Nguyen Quoc Huy of the Vietnamese Institute of Ecology and Works Protection, describe a new species of Laocaia, which is also from Fansipan Mountain in northwest Vietnam.

The new species is named Laocaia simovi, where 'simovi' honours the biologist Nikolay Simov of the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia. The species is described from three adult and two juvenile specimens collected from a Bamboo forest at 2900 m above sealevel, just below the summit of the mountain. These are 21.12–26.40 mm in length, with a thin shell covering a non-coiled visceral hump, which sits in a v-shaped body groove. They are a light ochre-brown in colour, grey around the head, the rear part of the foot is dark red. The shell is located on top of the hump, slightly offset to the right, and is more mineralised to the rear.

Laocaia simovi, colouration of the body with the visceral hump and U-shaped dorsal groove. Dedov et al. (2019).

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