ZooKeys 216: 1–3, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.216.3646
The status of the genus Bostryx Troschel, 1847, with description of a new subfamily (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Bulimulidae)
Abraham S.H. Breure 1,†
1 Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis, P.O. Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands

Corresponding author: Abraham S.H. Breure (ashbreure@gmail.com)

Academic editor: Eike Neubert

received 8 July 2012 | accepted 13 August 2012 | Published 21 August 2012

(C) 2012 Abraham S.H. Breure. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

For reference, use of the paginated PDF or printed version of this article is recommended.


The status of the genus Bostryx is discussed and, based on morphological and molecular data, restricted to a group of species related to Bostryx solutus, for which the new subfamily name Bostrycinae is introduced.


Orthalicoidea, taxonomy, Bostrycinae subfam. n.


Troschel (1847: 49) described a new, peculiar land snail, as Bulimus (Bostryx) solutus. He wrote: “Diese durch Herrn Dr. von Tschudi in Peru in vielen Exemplaren gesammelte Art ist so eigenthümlich, dass ich überzeugt bin, sie werde bei einer naturgemässen Theilung der Gattung Bulimus, wovon die Notwendigkeit nach meinem anatomischen Untersuchungen keinen Zweifel unterliegt, eine eigene Gattung bilden, für die ich den Namen Bostryx vorschlage”. However, Troschel’s conviction that Bostryx constituted a separate genus was not readily accepted. Most authors (e.g. Pilsbry 1896 [1895–1896], Thiele 1931) regarded it as a subgenus of Bulimulus Leach, 1814. It was not until 1944 when Pilsbry used it as a separate genus (Pilsbry 1944). Subsequent authors have classified many other taxa as subgenera — based purely on shell shape — within Bostryx (e.g. Zilch 1960 [1959–1960], Schileyko 1999). Breure (1979) in his revision of the Bulimulidae, using the external shell morphology and internal anatomical characters, listed 22 taxa as synonyms of Bostryx (s.l.)and 274 available names at the species-level. He wrote: “It has been mentioned before that a number of species groups may be recognized with Bostryx (sensu lato) that correspond more or less with some of the ‘subgenera’ listed in the above-mentioned synonymy. There are, however, a rather large number of taxa that can not be allocated to one of these species groups and it is preferred, therefore, to treat the genus here sensu lato”. During recent molecular work 10 Bostryx species were sequenced, showing that Bostryx (s.l.) is a polyphyletic taxon (Breure and Romero 2012). For the monophyletic species group with Bostryx solutus the subfamily name Bostrycinae subfam. n. was introduced; however, without proper diagnosis fulfilling the requirement of Art. 13.1 ICZN this is a nomen nudum. To correct this (surprising) mistake, the necessary data for a valid description are presented in this paper.


Superfamily Orthalicoidea Martens in Albers, 1860

Family Bulimulidae Tryon, 1867


Shells with a smooth protoconch; genital organs with a relatively long penis sheath (ca. 1/4–1/6 total phallus length) (Breure 1978: fig. 176).

Type genus.

Bostryx Troschel, 1847; type species by monotypy Bulimus (Bostryx) solutus Troschel, 1847.


It should be stressed that this genus needs a thorough revision, based both on a re-evaluation of morphological characters and molecular data. In molecular analyses, species of this subfamily are forming a monophyletic group with Bostryx solutus (Troschel, 1847) included. Given current understanding (Breure and Romero 2012, Breure unpublished data) the following, additional taxa at least belong to Bostryx s.str.: Bostryx (Peronaeus) agueroi Weyrauch, 1960, Bostryx (Bostryx) aguilari Weyrauch, 1967, Bostryx (Bostryx) agueroi beltrani Weyrauch, 1964, Bulinus conspersus Sowerby I, 1833, Bostryx edmundi Breure & Neubert, 2008, Bostryx granulatus Breure & Neubert, 2008, Bostryx (Pseudoperonaeus) longispira Weyrauch, 1960, Bulinus modestus Broderip, 1832, Bostryx multiconspectus Breure, 2008, Drymaeus torallyi peruvianus Pilsbry, 1944, Bostryx primigenius Breure, 2008, Bulinus scalariformis Broderip, 1832, Helix sordidus Lesson, 1826, Bostryx (Multifasciatus) superbus Weyrauch, 1967, Helix torallyi d’Orbigny, 1835.

As may be seen from this — necessarily incomplete — list, shell shape alone may be a misleading character for classification (e.g., with representatives of three ‘subgenera’). Further research needs to clarify which of the 22 synonyms of Bostryx (s.l.) may be given (sub)generic status within this subfamily.

Finally, Breure and Romero (2012) showed that Helix apodemeta d’Orbigny, 1835, Bulimulus (Scansicochlea) strobeli Parodiz, 1956, and Bulinus bilineatus Sowerby I, 1833 may need to be re-classified with Naesiotus Albers, 1850; this genus (also treated s.l. in Breure 1979) is in need of an in-depth revision and its relationship to Bulimulus to be clarified.

Further research, especially using molecular data, will undoubtedly give new insights, thus leading to either more support for the current classification or perhaps other surprises.


I am most grateful to Philippe Bouchet for enlightening me with the invalid introduction of the new subfamily name according to the ICZN Code.

Breure ASH (1978) Notes on and descriptions of Bulimulidae (Mollusca, Gastropoda). Zoologische Verhandelingen Leiden 164: 1-255.
Breure ASH (1979) Systematics, phylogeny and zoogeography of Bulimulinae (Mollusca). Zoologische Verhandelingen Leiden 168: 1-215.
Breure ASH, Romero PE (2012) Support and surprises: molecular phylogeny of the land snail superfamily Orthalicoidea using three-locus gene analysis with a divergence time analysis and ancestral area reconstruction. Archiv für Molluskenkunde 141: 1-20.
Pilsbry HA (1895–1896) American Bulimi and Bulimuli. Strophocheilus, Plekocheilus, Auris, Bulimulus. Manual of Conchology (2) 10:i–iv + 1–213.
Pilsbry HA (1944) New Peruvian land mollusks. The Nautilus 57: 87-88.
Schileyko AA (1999) Treatise on Recent terrestrial pulmonate molluscs, 3. Partulidae, Aillyidae, Bulimulidae, Orthalicidae, Megaspiridae, Urocoptidae. Ruthenica, Supplement 2: 263-436.
Thiele J (1931) Handbuch der systematischen Weichtierkunde, 1. Gustav Fischer, Jena, i–vi, 1–778.
Troschel FH (1847) Zwei neue Peruanische Schnecken. Zeitschrift für Malakozoologie 4: 49-52.