Thursday, 6 July 2006

Cool yulei

Meet Bentosites yulei (Forbes), one of the big camaenids from Queensland. I photographed this one in rainforest at Conway National Park near Airlie Beach. The species occurs from Mt Dryander (north of Airlie Beach) to Seaforth (south of Mackay). It is also found on the Whitsunday Islands.

I said it was one of the 'big camaenids'. It's actually quite middling by their standards. The biggest specimens I've seen have been a little over 40 mm in diameter, but they're usually about 35 mm across. They wouldn't send your car careering into a ditch if you hit them on the road. (Not like Sphaerospira informis or Hadra bipartita. You need a roo bar on the vehicle when they're around.)

Bentosites yulei travels under a number of aliases. It's also known as Sphaerospira and by the specific epithets of rainbirdi, starena, findera and thorogoodi. Indefatigable splitter Tom Iredale was responsible for the last three names, which he applied to shells that departed slightly in appearance from the norm. (To be fair, only starena was a new taxon. Iredale gave the other epithets to taxa already proposed by Pilsbry.)

Despite the little black book's-worth of names, B. yulei maintains roughly the same shell shape throughout its range. Most specimens have depressed spires but occasional individuals are quite globose. Although there is a superficial resemblance to another local camaenid, Temporena macneilli, B. yulei always has an excavated umbilicus. (I don't think it collects fluff.)

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