Tag Archives: Madeira

Wollastonia ripkeni De Mattia & Groh

Ripken’s Wollaston Snail (Wollastonia ripkeni)

Ripken’s Wollastonia Snail was described in 2018 during a genus-group revision; it is known only from subfossil material that was found near the south-eastern shore of Porto Santo, Madeira.

The species died out before the scientific exploration of the island, maybe even before the first humans arrived. [1]

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References:

[1] Willy De Mattia; Marco T. Neiber; Klaus Groh: Revision of the genus-group Hystricella R. T. Lowe, 1855 from Porto Santo (Madeira Archipelago), with descriptions of new recent and fossil taxa (Gastropoda, Helicoidea, Geometridae). ZooKeys 732: 1-125. 2018

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Photo from: ‘Willy De Mattia; Marco T. Neiber; Klaus Groh: Revision of the genus-group Hystricella R. T. Lowe, 1855 from Porto Santo (Madeira Archipelago), with descriptions of new recent and fossil taxa (Gastropoda, Helicoidea, Geometridae). ZooKeys 732: 1-125. 2018’

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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edited: 01.08.2022

Amphorella grabhami (Pilsbry)

Grabham’s Amphorella Snail (Amphorella grabhami)  

This species is known from deposits as old as the Middle Pleistocene, it survived until the Late Holocene, the youngest specimens can be dated to an age of around 50 years, meaning this species disappeared, completely unnoticed, around the 1950s. [1]

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References:

[1] Glenn A. Goodfriend; R. A. D. Cameron; L. M. Cook: Fossil evidence of recent human impact on the land snail fauna of Madeira. Journal of Biogeography 21: 309-320. 1994

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edited: 16.06.2020

Laparocerus lanatus (Wollaston)

Woolly Weevil (Laparocerus lanatus)

This species was described in 1854, it was endemic to the island of Madeira.

The species reached a length of about 0,45 to 0,47 cm; it was uniformly blackish brown to black.

The species was not found in recent surveys and is considered extinct.

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Depiction from: Thomas Vernon Wollaston: Insecta maderensia; being an account of the insects of the islands of the Madeiran group. London, J. Van Voorst 1854

(not in copyright)

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edited: 29.04.2021

Wollastonia beckmanni De Mattia & Groh

Beckmann’s Wollastonia Snail (Wollastonia beckmanni)

This species was described in 2018, it is known only from the southeastern coast of Porto Santo.

The shells reach a size of about 0,5 to 0,56 cm in diameter.

The species appears to have already been extinct before the scientific exploration of the island in the 19th century. [1]

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References:

[1] Willy De Mattia; Marco T. Neiber; Klaus Groh: Revision of the genus-group Hystricella R. T. Lowe, 1855 from Porto Santo (Madeira Archipelago), with descriptions of new recent and fossil taxa (Gastropoda, Helicoidea, Geometridae). ZooKeys 732: 1-125. 2018

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Photo from: ‘ Willy De Mattia; Marco T. Neiber; Klaus Groh: Revision of the genus-group Hystricella R. T. Lowe, 1855 from Porto Santo (Madeira Archipelago), with descriptions of new recent and fossil taxa (Gastropoda, Helicoidea, Geometridae). ZooKeys 732: 1-125. 2018’

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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edited: 26.04.2021

Truncatellina linearis (Lowe)

Linear Truncatellina Snail (Truncatellina linearis)

This species was endemic to the island of Madeira, where it is known already from Middle Pleistocene deposits, it survived until the 1950s. [1]

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References:

[1] Glenn A. Goodfriend; R. A. D. Cameron; L. M. Cook: Fossil evidence of recent human impact on the land snail fauna of Madeira. Journal of Biogeography 21: 309-320. 1994

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edited: 18.11.2021

Temnothorax wollastoni (Donisthorpe)

Wollaston’s Ant (Temnothorax wollastoni)

Wollaston’s Ant was described in 2006, however, it is known only from two specimens that were collected in 1940 on the island of Madeira.

The species is apparently quite similar to (Temnothorax gaetulus Santschi) from Morocco, from which it differs from that species by lacking spines and a clear mesopropodeal depression.

Wollaston’s Ant was not found during recent surveys, it is possible that it was wiped out by introduced ant species. [1]

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References:

[1] James K. Wetterer; Xavier Espadaler; Andrea L. Wetterer; Dora Aguin-Pombo; António M. Franquinho-Aguiar: Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Madeiran Archipelago. Sociobiology 49(7): 1-33. 2007   

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edited: 07.05.2021

Cylichnidia cylichna (Lowe)

Madeiran Cylichnidia Snail (Cylichnidia cylichna)  

This species was endemic to the island of Madeira, it is known from fossil and subfossil shells both from Middle Pleistocene to Holocene deposits, the youngest shells can be dated to an age of only about 50 years, it thus disappeared, completely unnoticed, sometimes during the 1950s. [1]

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References:

[1] Glenn A. Goodfriend; R. A. D. Cameron; L. M. Cook: Fossil evidence of recent human impact on the land snail fauna of Madeira. Journal of Biogeography 21: 309-320. 1994

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edited: 16.06.2020

Actinella promontoriensis Waldén

Madeiran Actinella Snail (Actinella promontoriensis)  

This species was endemic to the island of Madeira.

The species is rare in the fossil record, first appearing in Late Pleistocene deposits, the youngest shells could be dated to an age of about 200 years, thus this species apparently disappeared sometimes in the early 19th century. [1]

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References:

[1] Glenn A. Goodfriend; R. A. D. Cameron; L. M. Cook: Fossil evidence of recent human impact on the land snail fauna of Madeira. Journal of Biogeography 21: 309-320. 1994

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edited: 16.06.2020

Otus mauli Rando, Pieper, Alcover & Olson

Madeiran Scops Owl (Otus mauli)

The Madeiran Scops Owl was described in 2012 based on subfossil remains that were recovered from Quaternary deposits on the island of Madeira.

The species was a largely ground-dwelling bird that, however, wasn’t flightless.

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References:

[1] Juan Carlos Rando; Harald Pieper; Josep Antoni Alcover; & Storrs L. Olson: A new species of extinct fossil scops owl (Aves: Strigiformes: Strigidae: Otus) from the Archipelago of Madeira (North Atlantic Ocean). Zootaxa. 3182: 29-42. 2012

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edited: 02.05.2022

Caseolus bowdichianus (Férrusac)

Bowdich’s Caseolus Snail (Caseolus bowdichianus)  

Bowdich’s Caseolus Snail was described based on subfossil shells that had been found abundantly in to Early- to Middle Holocene deposits on the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo in the Madeiran Archipelago.

The youngest known shells could be dated to an age of about 410 to 440 years, thus this species disappeared shortly after the first European settlers arrived on the islands, that is about 1550 to 1580. [1]

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References:

[1] Glenn A. Goodfriend; R. A. D. Cameron; L. M. Cook: Fossil evidence of recent human impact on the land snail fauna of Madeira. Journal of Biogeography 21: 309-320. 1994

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Photo: H. Zell

(under creative commons license (3.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0

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edited: 16.06.2020

Turdus sp. ‘Madeira’

Madeiran Thrush (Turdus sp.)

This up to now undescribed taxon is known only on the basis of subfossil remains that were found (quite commonly) on the island of Madeira. [2]

The Madeiran Thrush was a large, long-legged species, apparently adapted to a terrestrial lifestyle, it is not known if the species was flightless, but it was very likely a poor flyer and a typical tame (naive) island bird with no fear for humans or other mammals ….

***

Today, the only species of thrush inhabiting the island of Madeira is the native Blackbird (Turdus merula ssp. cabrerae Hartert) with a subspecies that also inhabits the Canary Islands.

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There is a quite interesting account from 1823, made by T. Edward Bowdich, who apparently was the only person who has ever recorded this species, he even shot one on the island of Porto Santo.: 

We shot the falco oesalon; the upupa capensis, which I presume was not known inhabit so far north; the larus canus, said by the natives to be blown over from the African coast; the columba livia, of which there are large flocks; a turdus; the loxia enucleator, and a larger corythus.” [1]

About the thrush he makes to following additional comment.:

The back and belly are brown, with patches of yellow, the wings and tail brown; the beak is strong, and of a brown colour, except the first half of the lower mandible, which is yellow.” [1]

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References:

[1] T. Edward Bowdich; Sarah Lee Bowdich: Excursions in Madeira and Porto Santo, during the autumn of 1823, while on his third voyage to Africa. London: G. B. Whittaker 1825
[2] Harald Pieper: The fossil land birds of Madeira and Porto Santo. Bocagiana 88: 1-6. 1985

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edited: 20.02.2020

Rallus lowei Alcover, Pieper, Pereira & Rando

Lowe’s Rail (Rallus lowei 

The former existence of a now extinct species of rail on the island of Madeira, Portugal has been known for several decades since subfossil material was found at several localities all over the island, yet, these bones had to wait for 2015 to be finally described.  

Lowe’s Rail was the largest of the extinct Macaronesian endemic rails, yet was still smaller than its derivative, the Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus L.) from the European mainland.  

The species was a flightless form with robust legs, it likely inhabited the dense wet laurel forests that once covered most of Madeira’s surface. [1]  

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References:  

[1] Josep Antoni Alcover; Harald Pieper; Fernando Pereira; Juan Carlos Rando: Five new extinct species of rails (Aves: Gruiformes: Rallidae) from the Macaronesian Islands (North Atlantic Ocean). Zootaxa 4057(2): 151-190. 2015  

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edited: 10.09.2019

Actinella arcinella ssp. arcinella (Lowe)

Arcinella Snail (Actinella arcinella ssp. arcinella)  

This species is thought to have become extinct around the beginning of the 20th century or slightly earlier. [1]

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References:

[1] Glenn A. Goodfriend; R. A. D. Cameron; L. M. Cook: Fossil evidence of recent human impact on the land snail fauna of Madeira. Journal of Biogeography 21: 309-320. 1994

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edited: 16.06.2020

Pieris wollastoni (Butler)

Madeiran Large White (Pieris wollastoni)  

The classification of the Madeiran Large White is somewhat difficult, it is treated by different authors either as a subspecies of the Large White (Pieris brassicae (L.)) or of the Canary White (Pieris cheiranthi (Hübner)), or as a distinct species.  

Most individuals of this insular form resembled the European mainland Large White in appearance, however the individuals, like in most species of Whites, could differ highly from each other, by their coloration as well as in their size.  

The species reached a wingspan of 5,5 – 6,5 cm, it was named locally Borboleta da Madeira or Grande Branca da Madeira (in Portuguese).  

The larval host plant is said to have been common cabbage (Brassica oleracea (L.)).  

The entomologist R. Pinker reported in 1968 of a very unusual method of cabbage harvesting on Madeira. The lower leaves are said to have been taken away almost every day, which probably made a survival of the caterpillars sitting on these leaves very likely impossible. [2]  

***

In the year 1974 the Small White (Pieris rapae (L.)) was found on Madeira for the first time, interestingly instantly in masses. [3]  

According to a hypothesis by the entomologist B. O. C. Gardiner this new species of white, resp. a special form of granulosis virus, which was spread by this species, and against which the Madeiran Large White did not have any resistance, may be at least one of the reasons for the extinction of the endemic White. [4]  

The last sighting of the Madeiran Large White was in 1977 (according to the European Red List of Butterflies in 1986).  

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References:  

[1] A. E. Holt-White: The butterflies and moths of Teneriffe. London, L. Reeve & Co. 1894 
[2] Rudolf Pinker: Der Lebensraum von Pieris cheiranthi HBN, und die Einwanderung und Ausbreitung der Catopsilia florella F. auf den Kanaren. Zeitschrift der Arbeitsgemeinschaft österr. Entomologen. 20 (1-3) 1968 
[3] N. Wolff: On the sudden mass occurrence in 1974 of Pieris rapae L. (Lepidoptera, Pieridae) in Madeira. Boletim Mus. Municip. Funchal, 29: 26-32. 1975 
[4] B. O. C. Gardiner: The possible cause of extinction of Pieris brassicae wollastoni Butler (Lepidoptera: Pieridae). Entomologist’s Gazette, 54: 267-268. 2003  

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female; specimen supposedly caught on the island of Tenerife, Canary Island [1] 

Depiction from ‘A. E. Holt-White: The butterflies and moths of Teneriffe. London, L. Reeve & Co. 1894′ 

(not in copyright) 
male, left upside, right underside

Photo: Dr. Heiner Ziegler, by courtesy of Dr. Heiner Ziegler 

http://www.euroleps.ch

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edited: 14.09.2020

Carduelis sp. ‘Madeira’

Madeiran Finch (Carduelis sp.)  

This species is known only from a few subfossil bone remains, but has currently not been described.  

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In T. Edward Bowdich’s and Sarah Bowdich Lee’s ‘Excursions in Madeira and Porto Santo, during the autumn of 1823, while on his third voyage to Africa’ is a description of a finch-like bird – together with a sketch of the head of this bird – according to which it had a blackish plumage and a bluish colored head. If this description is about the same bird that is covered here, or if this is about a completely different species, I am unable to say at present.  

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References:  

[1] Harald Pieper: The fossil land birds of Madeira and Porto Santo. Bocagiana 88: 1-6. 1985  

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(?)

Depiction from: ‘T. Edward Bowdich; Sarah Bowdich Lee: Excursions in Madeira and Porto Santo, during the autumn of 1823, while on his third voyage to Africa. London: G. B. Whittaker 1825’  

(public domain)

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edited: 12.03.2011

Geomitra delphinuloides (Lowe)

Madeiran Geomitra Snail (Geomitra delphinuloides)  

The Madeiran Geomitra Snail, which was endemic to the island of Madeira, was discovered and apparently also described in 1860. It appears to be known exclusively from fresh but empty shells as well as from numerous subfossil and fossil specimens from both Pleistocene and Holocene deposits. [2]

The shells reached sizes of about 1,75 cm in diameter, they were rather this and fragile in substance, extremely roughened, perfectly opaque, flattened, rounded and planorbiform, with the spire greatly depressed and its umbilicus excessively wide and open, and of a uniform dull pale-brownish flesh-color varying into a chalky white. [1]  

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The following citation is from T. Vernon Wollaston (1878) and tells a bit about the species.:  

This is not only one of the most anomalous of the Madeiran Helices, but by far the most remarkable one which has been brought to light of late years, – it having been discovered, by Mr. Lowe, so recently as in 1860. It was at an elevation of about 4000 feet [ca. 1219 m], in the Ribeira do Fayal, that Mr. Lowe met with it, and moreover in considerable abundance, -‘on the surface of the somewhat moist, loose, friable, black vegetable mould, amongst tufts of grasses, ferns, etc., on a steep, dry, sunny bank clothed with shrubs of Vaccinium and Heath, and mixed with a few scattered trees of Laurus, at the foot of perpendicular crags, along the new Levada called the Levada da Fajãa dos Vinhaticos [Levada da Fajã dos Vinháticos aka. Levadinha Joao de Deus].‘” [1]  

The locality, mentioned in the citation above, could never be relocated.  

***

The species disappeared at around 1620 AD.. [2]

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Testacea Atlantica: or the Land and Freshwater Shells of the Azores, Madeiras, Salvages, Canaries, Cape Verdes, and Saint Helena. London: L. Reeve & Co. 1878
[2] Glenn A. Goodfriend; R. A. D. Cameron; L. M. Cook: Fossil evidence of recent human impact on the land snail fauna of Madeira. Journal of Biogeography 21: 309-320. 1994

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Depictions from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 4, Helicidae Vol. 2. 1888’  

(public domain)

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edited: 16.06.2020

Leiostyla cassida (Lowe)

Madeiran Helmet Snail (Leiostyla cassida)  

The Madeiran Helmet Snail was described in 1852 on the basis a single specimen, that had been collected in 1830, the species was later found again in quite large numbers in several areas on the northeast and the southeast part of Madeira.  

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See Thomas Vernon Wollaston in the year 1878 (Testacea Atlantica).:  

Until within a comparatively recent period the P. cassida, although abounding in the subfossiliferous beds at Caniçal, was considered of the utmost rarity as a member of the present fauna; but it was nevertheless met with in tolerable profusion by myself and the late Rev. W. J. Armitage, during March 1849, at the extreme head of the Ribeira de Sta. Luzia, in the south of Madeira proper (in the exact spot where the original and then unique example was taken by Mr. Lowe, on April 13th, 1830), – namely, amongst vegetable detritus, on the steep buttress, or bank, immediately to the right of the waterfall, and which constitutes the base of the lofty perpendicular rocks; and it has subsequently been obtained by Mr. Leacock, the Rev. R. B. Watson, and others, in the same locality. It occurs however likewise in the north of the island, having been taken by the late Mr. Bewicke in the Ribeira de São Jorge; so that in all probability it will be found to be pretty generally distributed in the damp sylvan ravines of intermediate altitudes.”  

***

The shell reached a height of about 0,46 cm.  

The last live individuals had obviously been found in the year 1870.  

All of the known former localities are more or less urbanized today and recent searches (last in 2008) failed to find even a single living individual.  

The Madeiran Helmet Snail therefore is now regarded most probably extinct.  

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References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Testacea Atlantica: or the Land and Freshwater Shells of the Azores, Madeiras, Salvages, Canaries, Cape Verdes, and Saint Helena. London: L. Reeve & Co. 1878  

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Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 27, Pupillidae (Orculinae, Pagodulinae, Acanthinulinae, etc.). 1922-1926’

(public domain)

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edited: 29.01.2011