Tag Archives: Madeiran Islands

Amphorella leacociana (Lowe)

Ribeira de Joao Gomes Amphorella Snail (Amphorella leacociana)

The Ribeira de Joao Gomes Amphorella Snail was described in 1852; it is known only from a few regions on the island of Madeira, Portugal, where it was found “under stones, very rare“. [1]

The shells reach sizes of about 3.7 in height; they were described as follows.:

The shell is very small, oblong-turrite, widest near the base, very thin and fragile, subtransparent, yellowish-corneous, glossy, with a very narrow gray subsutural margin edged below with a light line. The spire has slightly convex outlines and obtuse summit. Whorls 5 1/2 slowly widening to the last which descends more rapidly. The aperture is small, piriform, very narrow above. Outer lip thin, strongly arched forward in the middle, deeply excised or retracted to the suture above. Columella rather wide, projecting into the aperture, truncate at base.” [1]

***

syn. Achatina leacociana Lowe, Ferussacia leacociana (Lowe)

***

This species can also be found named as Amphorella leacockiana (Lowe), which, of course, is wrong.

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Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata. Volume 19. Oleacinidae, Ferussacidae 1907-1908’

(public domain)

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References:  

[1] George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata. Volume 19. Oleacinidae, Ferussacidae 1907-1908

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edited: 15.02.2024

Otus sp. ‘Porto Santo’

Porto Santo Scops Owl (Otus sp.)

The Porto Santo Scops Owl is known from fragmentary subfossil remains, found on the island of Porto Santo northeast of Madeira.

This form might have been identical with the Madeiran Scops Owl (Otus mauli Rando, Pieper, Alcover & Olson), but it is quite possible that it was at least distinct at subspecific level.

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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

Callina waldeni Groh & De Mattia

Walden’s Callina Snail (Callina waldeni)

Walden’s Callina Snail was described in 2018 during a genus revision including many Madeiran land snail forms; it is known only from subfossil shells that were recovered from Holocene deposits near the southern coast of Porto Santo in the Madeiran archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.

The shells reach sizes of around 1,57 cm in diameter; they are whitish (probably bleached) and have a closed umbilicus and a well-rounded rather than angulated or keeled last whorl.

The species disappeared before the island’s scientific exploration in the 19th century, maybe even due to natural causes like slight, local (non-human induced) climatical changes. [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: 24.08.2022

Amphorella grabhami (Pilsbry)

Grabham’s Amphorella Snail (Amphorella grabhami)

Grabham’s Amphorella Snail was described in 1908; it is only known from subfossil material that was recovered from deposits at the Ponta de São Lourenço Peninsula in the east of Madeira which were dated to the Middle Pleistocene; however, the species survived well into the Late Holocene and the youngest known specimens can be dated to an age of around 50 years, meaning this species disappeared around the 1950s without having ever been found alive. [1][2]

The shells reached sizes of about 0.6 cm; they were described as follows.:

The shell resembles the small form of tornatellina in shape; but the very thick outer lip is inflexed, with an inwardly projecting lobe below the middle; supraparietal plait short and narrow; parietal nodule low but distinct.” [1]

***

syn. Ferussacia tornatellina var. grabhami Pilsbry

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Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata. Volume 19. Oleacinidae, Ferussacidae 1907-1908’

(public domain)

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References:  

[1] George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata. Volume 19. Oleacinidae, Ferussacidae 1907-1908
[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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edited: 15.02.2024

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

Hystricella aucta (Wollaston)

Small Hystricella Snail (Hystricella aucta 

This species was described in 1867, originally as a kind of a subspecies or variety of another species, Wollastonia vermetiformis (R. T. Lowe), or as a fossil form of a closely related recent species, Hystricella bicarinata (G. B. Sowerby) respectively.  

The Small Hystricella Snail is known from several Quaternary mud deposits along the southeastern coast of Porto Santo, Madeiran Islands, Portugal.  

The distinctly dome-shaped shells reach sizes of 0,5 to 0,6 cm in diameter. [1]  

***

The Small Hystricella Snail disappeared before the scientific exploration of Porto Santo in the 19th century, it probably died out due to natural changes in the microclimate of its habitat.  

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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, Geomitridae). ZooKeys 732: 1-125. 2018  

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edited: 23.03.2018

Cylichnidia cylichna (Lowe)

Madeiran Cylichnidia Snail (Cylichnidia cylichna)

The Madeiran Cylichnidia Snail was described in 1852; it is only known from subfossil material that had been recovered from Middle Pleistocene to Holocene deposits at the Ponta de São Lourenço Peninsula as well as from Caniçal, both in the easternmost part of Madeira. [1]

The species must have survived into the 1950s as the youngest known specimens that were found could be dated to that age; the species thus died out without having ever been seen alive. [2] 

***

syn. Achatina cylichna Lowe, Ferussacia cylichna (Lowe)

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Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata. Volume 19. Oleacinidae, Ferussacidae 1907-1908’

(public domain)

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References:  

[1] George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata. Volume 19. Oleacinidae, Ferussacidae 1907-1908
[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: 15.02.2024

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

Wollastonia subcarinulata (Wollaston)

Keeled Wollastonia Snail (Wollastonia subcarinulata)

 

The Keeled Wollastonia Snail is known exclusively from Quaternary deposits along the southeastern coast of Porto Santo, Madeiran Islands, Portugal.

The species was described in 1878, originally as a kind of subspecies or variety of another species, Wollastonia oxytropis (R. T. Lowe), of which it differs by its larger size beside some other features like a more distinctly marked suture, the finer granulation, and the wider aperture. [1]

***

The Keeled Wollastonia Snail disappeared before the scientific exploration of Porto Santo in the 19th century, it probably died out due to changes in the microclimate of its habitat.

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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, Geomitridae). 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

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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References:

[1] 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

Rallus adolfocaesaris Alcover, Pieper, Pereira & Rando

Porto Santo Rail (Rallus adolfocaesaris)  

The Porto Santo Rail was described in 2015, but its remains were already known for some time (as Rallus sp. ‘Porto Santo’).  

The species was restricted to the island of Porto Santo, it was quite gracile but nevertheless completely flightless.  

The Porto Santo Rail disappeared shortly after the Madeiran Islands were discovered and settled by Portoguese settlers at the beginning of the 15th century. [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

Madeirovitrina crassa (Groh & Hemmen)

Solid Glass Snail (Madeirovitrina crassa)  

Glass snails are so-called ‘semi-slugs’, that means, they still bear a more or less reduced and transparent shell, into which they cannot any longer move their body, at least not completely. 

Several species are occurring in all over Europe with the most inhabiting the southern part of the continent.  

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The Solid Glass Snail was described in 1986, apparently based on (sub)fossil shells which had been found on the island of Porto Santo in the Madeiran Archipelago.

The species is considered extinct. [1][2]

***

syn. Phenacolimax crassus Groh & Hemmen

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Photo: Marie Hennion; MNHN 
http://www.mnhn.fr   
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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References:  

[1] Klaus Groh; Jens Hemmen: Zur Kenntnis der Vitriniden des Madeira-Archipels. Archiv für Molluskenkunde 116: 183-217. 1985
[2] Robert A. D. Cameron; Laurence M. Cook; Glenn A. Goodfriend; Mary B. Seddon: Fossil land snail faunas of Porto Santo, Madeiran Archipelago: Change and stasis in Pleistocene to recent times. Malacologia 49(1): 25-59. 2006  

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edited: 12.02.2024

Carduelis sp. ‘Madeira’

Madeiran Finch (Carduelis sp.)  

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

***

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