Tag Archives: Saint Helena

Acanthomerus asperatus Wollaston

Rough Saint Helena Weevil (Acanthomerus asperatus)

The Rough Saint Helena Weevil was described in 1877, as its name implies, it is, or maybe was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The species seems to have been adapted to the likewise endemic Scrubwood (Commidendrum rugosum (Dryand) DC.), and was apparently already very rare when it was discovered.:

I have seen hitherto but a single example of this curious and well-marked Acanthomerus, – which was taken by Mr. P. Whitehead, amongst the viscous shrubs of the scrubwood (or Aster glutinosus, Hk. f.) [Commidendrum rugosum], on the Barn. It must be regarded therefore as a scrubwood species; and I may add that there are few members of the scrubwood fauna (as yet brought to light) which are more interesting than the A. asperatus.

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The Rough Saint Helena Weevil was not found during the most recent field surveys and might well be extinct.

***

The depiction below shows the closely related Boring Saint Helena Weevil (Acanthomerus terebrans Wollaston).

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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Boring Saint Helena Weevil (Acanthomerus terebrans)

Depiction from: ‘T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877’

(public domain)

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edited: 26.05.2021

Anchastus atlanticus Candèze

Atlantic Click Beetle (Anchastus atlanticus)

The Atlantic Click Beetle was described in 1859; it is, or maybe was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

… the present species appears to be attached, in at any rate its larval condition, to the arborescent Compositae of a somewhat high altitude, more particularly (I think), though by no means exclusively, to the Little bastard Gumwood or Aster gummiferus, Hk. fil. [Commidendrum spurium (G. Forst.) DC.]; but in its perfect state it is more often be met with beneath stones in open grassy spots, especially in the vicinity of those particular shrubs. After the early summer rains, about the beginning of February, it makes its appearance in comparative abundance; during which season I took it in profusion just behind the lofty ridge, above West Lodge, overlooking the great Sandy-Bay crater, as well as on the eastern (and well-nigh inaccessible) slopes of High Peak, and also (though more sparingly) so low down as even Plantation. It has been captured by Mr. Whitehead on Halley’s Mount, and likewise (in great profusion), beneath stones, on Green Hill.” [1]

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The species was not recorded during the latest field searches and is now feared to be extinct.

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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Depiction from: ‘Guy Babault: Voyage de M. Guy Babault dans l’Afrique orientale anglaise: résultats scientifiques. Paris: 1916-1924

(public domain)

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edited: 27.05.2021

Upupa antaios Olson

Saint Helena Hoopoe (Upupa antaios)

As its name implies, this species was endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the vast Atlantic Ocean.

The Saint Helena Hoopoe was larger than the remaining two or three hoopoe species, it had somewhat reduced wings but certainly was not flightless as is often stated. [1]

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It is quite intriguing that none of the old contemporaneous accounts, given by the early settlers on Saint Helena, mentions this – or any of the other extinct bird species that we know only from subfossil bones.

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References:

[1] Storrs L. Olson: Paleornithology of St. Helena Island, south Atlantic Ocean, Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 23. 1975

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edited: 30.05.2021

Scydmaenus wollastoni (Waterhouse)

Wollaston’s Ant-like Beetle (Scydmaenus wollastoni)

Wollaston’s Ant-like Beetle was described in 1879; it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The species was apparently last seen in 1836 and now feared to be extinct, unfortunately I could not find any additional information.

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I’m not quite sure if this species indeed is the same as Euconnus wollastoni (Waterhouse).

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edited: 27.05.2021

Opogona binotatella (Walker)

Potato-boring Opogona Moth (Opogona binotatella)

This species was described in 1875, it is, or maybe was, restricted to the island of Saint Helena, where it appears to have been quite common.:

It was chiefly at Plantation that I met with this species, where it abounds; indeed it is much too abundant, as in the caterpillar-state it is most destructive to the potato-crops. Mr. Melliss observes, “The larva of this moth is well known in the island as the potato-worm. It is a small, translucent, maggot-like creature, of a dirty whitish hue, marked with four longitudinal rows of small brown spots, and having a few long hairs on its body. In length it varies from a half to three quarters of an inch. The head is hard, and of a chocolate-brown colour; and the little creature moves backwards quite as easily as it does forwards. It abounds in the island, and is a thorough pest to the potato-crops. Either the eggs are laid in the potatoes, or the larva enters them in an early stage of its growth, and, through its depredations, renders them quite unfit for food. When changing to the pupa-state it wraps itself up in a strong web, in the form of a close, tough envelope; and the chrysalis is of a light mahogany colour, with the positions of the wings and legs, even in its early stage, strongly marked longitudinally down the outside of the case or skin.” It would therefore appear to be only in the more cultivated parts of the island that this species has established itself; and on rapping the trunks of trees in such situations the imagos fly off in showers; nevertheless they very quickly settle again.” [1]

The forewings are dull and opaque dark cloudy brown colored, they are more or less besprinkled with blackish scales; some individuals are darker; the hindwings are glossy, silk-like cinereous, becoming darker towards the apex. [1]

***

There are no recent records of that species, and it is possible that it is already extinct, which is weird given the fact that it apparently was able to adapt to introduced potatoes as larval food plant. [2]

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References:

[1] Mrs. T. Vernon Wollaston: Notes on the Lepidoptera of St. Helena, with descriptions of new species. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, including Zoology, Botany, and Geology. Ser. 5. Vol. 3: 415-441. 1879
[2] Timm Karisch: Darwin-Plus Project DPLUS040: securing the future for St Helena’s endemic invertebrates. Report Lepidoptera. Dessau, 31.08.2018

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edited: 29.05.2021

Opogona helenae (E. Wollaston)

Saint Helena Opogona Moth (Opogona helenae)

The Saint Helena Opogona Moth was described in 1879, it is, or maybe was, restricted to the island of Saint Helena.

The species has not seen since its description and might very well be extinct. [1]

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References:

[1] Timm Karisch: Darwin-Plus Project DPLUS040: securing the future for St Helena’s endemic invertebrates. Report Lepidoptera. Dessau, 31.08.2018

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edited: 29.05.2021

Pentatemnodes rupertsianus Voss

Rupert’s Valley Weevil (Pentatemnodes rupertsianus)

Rupert’s Valley Weevil was described in 1972; it is, or rather was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

The species was obviously not seen since 1967 and might well be extinct, however, I was not able to find any additional information about this species.

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edited: 27.05.2021

‘Chlorita’ edithae White

Edith’s Green Leafhopper (‘Chlorita’ edithae)

Edith’s Green Leafhopper, which is or was endemic to the island of Saint Helena, was described in 1878, however, its genus name is placed between quotation marks because it apparently is invalid and the species belongs in another genus.

This species was found by Mrs. and Mr. Wollaston at Cason’s, Diana’s Peak, and high Peak in the central ridge of the island, but was not recorded during field surveys in 1965/66 and during the most recent searches in 2005/06 and is probably extinct now. [1]

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References:

[1] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Acanthomerus monilicornis (Wollaston)

Collared Saint Helena Weevil (Acanthomerus monilicornis)

The Collared Saint Helena Weevil was described in 1869; it is, or maybe was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena, where it appears to have been quite common and widespread once.:

This is the common Acanthomerus at Plantation, – where it swarms in the dead branches and trunks of the various species of oak, as well as in the crevices of old posts &c.; and I am inclined to think that it be should looked upon as having been attached originally to the gumwoods, which must once have been dominant throughout that district; and I have taken it amongst the gumwoods at Thompson’s Wood, where, however, it is less abundant than the A. ellipticus. At any rate it is more particularly a species of intermediate altitudes; though I believe that on one occasion I met with a single example of it towards the central ridge.” [1]

***

The species was not found during the most recent field searches and is believed to be possibly extinct.

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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edited: 27.05.2021

Helenoconcha polyodon (Sowerby)

Many-toothed Saint Helena Snail (Helenoconcha polyodon)

The Many-toothed Saint Helena Snail was described in 1844 based on subfossil shells that were collected from a place named Sugarloaf Quarry on the island of Saint Helena.

The species’ author gives some information about the form of the shells.:

This is the most widely umbilicated of all the species of Patula from St. Helena, and this feature alone is sufficient to distinguish it from the rest. The whorls also, in adult shells eight to nine in number, enlarge very slowly. The striae are fine, regular, arcuately oblique above, and slightly wavy on the last whorl. There are three parietal lirae extending far within the aperture, of which the upper and lower are nearly always double. The plicae within the outer lip are almost invariably (in adult shells) seven in number, subequidistant, but not of equal thickness, two or three towards the columella being stouter than the rest, which are slender and extend some distance within.” [1]

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References:

[1] Edgar A. Smith: On the land-shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 1892: 258-270

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Depiction from: ‘G. W. Tryon; H. A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 8, Helicidae Vol. 6. 1892’

(public domain)

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edited: 29.05.2021

Opogona irrorata (E. Wollaston)

Dewy Opogona Moth (Opogona irrorata)

The Dewy Opogona Moth was described in 1879; it is, or maybe was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The description of this species.:

The fore wings of a pale brownish or straw-coloured tinge, and speckled with numerous irregular black dots (particularly on the basal half), each composed of a few dark scales, those near the costa having a faint tendency to be placed somewhat in transverse pairs. The apex and outer margin are speckled more minutely, as is also the fringe. Hind wings pale glossy cinereous, and, when viewed beneath a high magnifying-power, with a pearly and somewhat opaline lustre. Thorax slightly darker than the anterior wings; body much the same as the posterior ones.
The only examples which I have seen of this moth I captured, I believe, at Thompson’s Wood; but whether the species is in any way connected with the gumwoods I have no means of deciding. At any rate there is no reason to suspect that it is otherwise than truly indigenous in the island. The rather dotted, or speckled, surface of its upper wings will be sufficient to distinguish it from its more immediate allies.
” [1]

***

The species was never found again and is quite likely extinct. [2]

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References:

[1] Mrs. T. Vernon Wollaston: Notes on the Lepidoptera of St. Helena, with descriptions of new species. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, including Zoology, Botany, and Geology. Ser. 5. Vol. 3: 415-441. 1879
[2] Timm Karisch: Darwin-Plus Project DPLUS040: securing the future for St Helena’s endemic invertebrates. Report Lepidoptera. Dessau, 31.08.2018

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edited: 28.05.2021

Pseudohelenoconcha spurca (Sowerby)

Tainted Saint Helena Snail (Pseudohelenoconcha spurca)

The Tainted Saint Helena Snail was described in 1844 on the basis of subfossil, and apparently also quite recent shells that were collected at several localities at higher altitudes on the island of Saint Helena.

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The species survived at least into the middle of the 19th century, since at least one the forms, (Pseudocampylaea dianae (Pfeiffer)), formerly described as distinct species and now assigned to this one, have been found alive. [1] 

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References:

[1] Edgar A. Smith: On the land-shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 1892: 258-270

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Depiction from: ‘G. W. Tryon; H. A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 8, Helicidae Vol. 6. 1892’

(public domain)

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edited: 29.05.2021

Homoeodera asteris Wollaston

Scrubwood Fungus Beetle (Homoeodera asteris)

The Scrubwood Fungus Beetle was described in 1877; it is, or probably was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

The species was apparently associated with the endemic scrubwood (Commidendrum rugosum (Dryand) DC.).:

It is to Mr. P. Whitehead that we are indebted for this addition to the St.-Helena fauna, – the only two examples which I have seen having been captured by him from some bushes of the scrubwood between Sugarloaf and Flagstaff Hill, in the extreme north of the island.” [1]

***

The Scrubwood Fungus Beetle was not found during the most recent field searches and might well be extinct.

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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edited: 26.05.2021

Longitarsus helenae Wollaston

St. Helena Leaf Beetle (Longitarsus helenae)

The Saint Helena Leaf Beetle was endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

The species is associated with the likewise endemic Saint Helena Lobelia (Lobelia scaevolifolia Roxb.), which is apparently is main food plant.

The greenish-brassy alutaceous surface and pale elongate limbs of this little Longitarsus, in conjunction with the broad, largely-developed basal joint of its four anterior male feet, will sufficiently characterize it. A single specimen only was taken by Mr. Bewicke. It is quite distinct from any species with which I am acquainted; and Mr. Waterhouse, who has been working lately at the Halticidae, assures me that he knows nothing at all like it.” [1]

***

The Saint Helena Leaf Beetle wasn’t found during the most recent field surveys and is feared to be extinct. [2] 

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: On certain Coleoptera from St. Helena. The Journal of Entomology: descriptive and geographical 1(4): 207-216. 1861
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 26.05.2021

Peloriolus brunneus (F. H. Waterhouse)

Brown Riffle Beetle (Peloriolus brunneus)

This species was described in 1879, it is apparently known only by the material that was collected by Charles Darwin himself in 1836, allegedly on the island of Saint Helena, where it has never been found again.

The species might be extinct, or, which is in fact more likely, it was just mislabeled and did in fact originate from southern Africa, where all other species of that genus live, and where Darwin had been just prior to his arrival at Saint Helena. [1] 

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References:

[1] C. Hänel; M. A. Jäch: Beetles of the Tristan da Cunha Islands: Poignant new findings, and checklist of the archipelagos species, mapping an exponential increase in alien composition (Coleoptera). Koleopterische Rundschau 83: 257-282. 2013

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edited: 29.05.2021

Homoeodera elateroides Wollaston

Click Beetle-like Fungus Beetle (Homoeodera elateroides)

This species, endemic to the island of Saint Helena, was described in 1877.

The author of the species gives some information about it.:

The H. elateroides is confined to the loftier portions of the central ridge, and is decidedly scarce – though, by repeated visits to its proper habitat, I secured a tolerable supply of examples. They were nearly all of them taken about Diana’s Peak and Actaeon, though I met with a few towards the summit of High Peak.” [1]

***

As we see, this species was restricted to the higher mountainous areas of the island, it was already rare in 1965/66 and was not found during the most recent field searches in 2015/06. 

The Click Beetle-like Fungus Beetle may be extinct, despite the fact that the plants that it is/was thought to be associated with, the Saint Helena Tree Fern (Dicksonia arborescens L’Hér.) and the Black-scaled Fern (Diplazium filamentosum (Roxb.) Cronk), appear to be still quite common. [2]

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Pseudomesoxenus scrobiculatus Wollaston

Boxwood Weevil (Pseudomesoxenus scrobiculatus)

The Boxwood Weevil was described in 1877; it was restricted to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The species was obviously adapted to the endemic Boxwood (Mellissia begoniifolia (Roxb.) Hook.f.).:

The only example of this Pseudomesoxenus which I have yet seen has been communicated lately by Mr. P. Whitehead, who found it in the rotten wood of the Mellissia begoniaefolia [Mellissia begoniifolia] on Rock-Rose Hill.” [1]

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The species was not found during the latest field searches and is thought to be possibly extinct.

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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edited: 27.05.2021

Valenfriesia rotundata (Wollaston)

Rotund Fungus Beetle (Valenfriesia rotundata)

The Rotund Fungus Beetle was described in 1877; the species was restricted to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The species appears to have already been extremely rare when it was discovered.:

The only two examples of this most interesting little Notioxenus which I have yet seen are from the high central ridge, in the immediate vicinity of Actaeon and Diana’s Peak, – the first of them having been captured by Mr. Gray, and the other by myself. It is evidently, therefore, one of the rarest of the St. Helena Coleoptera.” [1]

***

The Rotund Fungus Beetle was last recorded in the 1970, when a single specimen was collected in at High Peak, it could not be recorded in recent searches and is thus most likely extinct. [2]

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 26.05.2021

Pseudostenoscelis sculpturata Wollaston

Sculpturated Pseudostenoscelis Weevil (Pseudostenoscelis sculpturata)  

This species was described in 1877, it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena, where it appears to have been restricted to the mountainous areas of the Central Ridge.

The species was obviously already rare when it was discovered.:

Evidently one of the rarest of the St.-Helena Coleoptera, three examples only having been brought to light during our sojourn in the island, ….” [1]

***

The Sculpturated Pseudostenoscelis Weevil apparently lives/lived within rotten stems of dead Saint Helena tree Ferns (Dicksonia arborescens L’Hér.). The species apparently also produces/produced borings in dead wood of Cabbage Trees and maybe of the Saint Helena White Wood (Petrobium arboreum (J.R . Forst. & G. Forst.) R. Br. ex Spreng.). [1][2]

The species was not found during the most recent searches in 2006 and may be extinct. [2]

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Mellissius eudoxus Wollaston

Eudoxus Scarab Beetle (Mellissius eudoxus)

This species was endemic to the island of Saint Helena, where it apparently was very common in former times; its larvae were called hog-worms and were thought to cause great damage to the grasslands by feeding on the roots of the grasses.:

Indeed we met with the eudoxus almost universally throughout the rather elevated central and south-western parts of the island (particularly in the vicinity of Cason’s, High Peak, and West Lodge), and more sparingly even in the northern ones, whereas of the adumbrates I did not procure so much as a single example during our six months’ sojourn in the island; so that, if the “hog-worms” do really “play so important a part in the destruction of the grass on the high lands, by feeding on its roots, that large patches, and sometimes whole fields, are laid bare,” I suspect that it must be the M. eudoxus, and not the comparatively rare adumbrates, which is mainly responsible for the damage.” [1]

***

The Eudoxus Scarab Beetle was apparently not found during the most recent field searches and appears to be possibly extinct.

***

The depiction below shows another species of that genus, the Shaded Scarab Beetle (Mellissius adumbrates Wollaston), which apparently still survives on the island.

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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Shaded Scarab Beetle (Mellissius adumbratus)

Depiction from: ‘John Charles Meliss: St. Helena: A Physical, Historical, and Topographical Description of the Island, including its Geology, Fauna, Flora, and Meteorology. London: L. Reeve & Co. 1875’ 

(public domain)

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edited: 26.05.2021

Xestophasis nasalis Wollaston

Nosed Saint Helena Weevil (Xestophasis nasalis)

The Nosed Saint Helena Weevil was described in 1877; it is, or rather was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

The species was apparently already very rare when it was discovered.:

This singular Cossonid, so remarkable for the structure of its basally strangulate, superiorly gibbose, and anteriorly decurved rostrum (which is comparatively long and narrow in the females, but mesially thickened in the males to an extraordinary extent, and which has the antennae median in the latter sex, but post-median in the former) is one of the rarest, so far as my experience is concerned, of all the St.-Helena Coleoptera.  It appears to be attached to the Commidendron robustum, DC. [Commidendrum robustum (Roxb.) DC.], or gumwood, – amongst the old trees of which I have taken it sparingly in Thompson’s Wood (where it was also met with by Mrs. Wollaston), as well as in Peak Gut.” [1]

***

The Nosed Saint Helena Weevil was not recorded during the most recent field searches and is very likely extinct.

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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edited: 26.05.2021

Tachys caheni (Basilewski)

Cahen’s Ground Beetle (Tachys caheni)

Cahen’s Ground Beetle was described in 1972, it is, or maybe was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

The species was last seen in 1967 and is probably extinct like so many other insect species that inhabited that island.

***

I have to admit that I could not find any additional information about this certain species.

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edited: 07.05.2021

Pterodroma rupinarum (Olson)

Saint Helena Petrel (Pterodroma rupinarum)

The Saint Helena Petrel was described in 1975, it is known only from subfossil remains.

The species disappeared shortly after the first human settlers set their feet onto the island probably due to direct hunting but also due to predation by introduced mammalian predators.

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edited: 29.05.2021

Longitarsus janulus Wollaston

She Cabbage Leaf Beetle (Longitarsus janulus)

The She Cabbage Leaf Beetle was described in 1877, it was endemic to the island of saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The species was apparently adapted to the likewise endemic She Cabbage tree (Lachanodes arborea (Roxb.) B. Nord.), a tree species that once was quite common on the High Central Ridge of the island, but which has virtually disappeared as a wild species now. 

The only spot in which I observed this very distinct Longitarsus is a little ravine below Halley’s Mount and between Oakbank and Hutt’s Gate, known as Vine-Tree Gut, – where it was extremely abundant on the foliage of the curious Lachanodes prenanthiflora [Lachanodes arborea], or “she cabbage-tree.” It is a rather larger insect than the L. helenae, and of not quite so lively a metallic green. Indeed its female sex is comparatively dull and opake, and has the elytra so wonderfully and deeply malleated down either outer disk as to cause the whole surface to appear coarsely wrinkled and (as it were) imperfectly developed, – leaving, however, three or four abbreviated longitudinal ridges (not so short as in the L. helenae) conspicuous within the excavation. Its males moreover differ from those of the L. helenae in having their antennae very much thicker or more developed, and in the basal joint of their four anterior feet being still more broadly expanded. Its prothorax too, in both sexes, is much more coarsely punctured than that of the L. helenae.” [1]

***

The She Cabbage Leaf Beetle was not found during the most recent field searches and is now almost certainly extinct. [2]

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 26.05.2021

Pseudostenoscelis asteriperda Wollaston

Large Pseudostenoscelis Weevil (Pseudostenoscelis asteriperda 

This species was described in 1877, it is/was endemic to the island of Saint Helena, where it was restricted to a single locality when it was discovered.:

… indeed the only locality in which I have met with it (though there in tolerable profusion) is on the almost inaccessible and windy sides of the great Sandy-Bay crater just beyond West Lodge, near to the old Picquet House and overlooking Lufkins.” [1]

***

The Large Pseudostenoscelis Weevil lived within the rotten wood of Burchell’s Gumwood (Commidendrum burchellii Benth. & Hook. f. ex Hemsl.) and Saint Helena Gumwood (Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum (Roxb.) Q. C. B. Cronk), both endemic to the island and either very rare now, or even extinct respectively. [1]

The species was not found during the latest searches in 2006 and may in fact be extinct now. [2]

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References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Bembidion trechoides Wollaston

Trechus-like Bembidion Ground Beetle (Bembidion trechoides)

The Trechus-like Bembidion Ground Beetle was described in 1877; it is, or rather was, restricted to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.:

It is only on the lofty central ridge that I have observed the B. trechoides, – where, however, in damp places generally, amongst the cabbage trees and tree ferns, it is not particularly uncommon, on the densely-covered slopes about Actaeon and Diana’s Peak; but I did not meet with it in the more western and rather less elevated parts towards High Peak and West Lodge, where the B. sublimbatum would seem to occur.” [1]

***

The species was apparently not found during the latest field searches and might be extinct.

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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edited: 30.05.2021

Acalypha rubrinervis Cronk

Red-veined Copperleaf (Acalypha rubrinervis 

The Red-veined Copperleaf was endemic to the island of Saint Helena; the litte tree, which, for its beautiful red male flower spikes, which hung in great profusion from every twig, the islanders named string-tree or stringwood, was restricted to the elevated parts of the southern slopes of Diana’s Peak.

The species reached a size of about 2 m in height; its red-veined leaves were 5 to 7 cm long and 3 to 5 cm wide, the male inflorescences were about 20 cm long, the flowers were red while the female flowers were rather inconspicuous.

The last individual was found by John Charles Melliss, an amateur naturalist that lived on Saint Helena.:

The last plant I saw of it in the island was one that had been transplanted to Oakbank about twenty years ago. It grew to a small tree about eighteen inches high, and blossomed and seeded freely, but is no longer there.” [1]

This last known individual died in about 1870.

*********************  

References:  

[1] John Charles Meliss: St. Helena: A Physical, Historical, and Topographical Description of the Island, including its Geology, Fauna, Flora, and Meteorology. London: L. Reeve & Co. 1875

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Depiction from: ‘John Charles Meliss: St. Helena: A Physical, Historical, and Topographical Description of the Island, including its Geology, Fauna, Flora, and Meteorology. London: L. Reeve & Co. 1875’ 

(public domain)

*********************

edited: 05.11.2020

Peltophorus commidendri Decelle

Gumwood Weevil (Peltophorus commidendri)  

The Gumwood Weevil is/was endemic to the island of Saint Helena, it is known only from the type that was collected in 1965/66 from a Saint Helena Gumwood tree (Commidedrum robustum (Roxb.) DC.).

The species was never recorded again and may in fact be already extinct.

*********************

References:

[1] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Tapiromimus gibbirostris Wollaston

Curved-snouted Weevil (Tapiromimus gibbirostris)  

This species was described in 1877, it is/was endemic to the highly isolated island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

The Curved-snouted Weevil was already rare when it was first discovered.:

This is one of the rarest of the Cossonids which have hitherto been found on St. Helena, – seven examples being all that I could obtain during our six months’ sojourn in the island.” [1]

***

The Curved-snouted Weevil appears to have made some kind of ‘comeback’ in 1965/66, when as much as 42 specimens were collected, however, it was not recorded during more recent searches in 2005/06 and is feared to have become extinct. [2] 

*********************

References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Bembidion rufosuffusus Wollaston

Reddish-tinged Bembidion Ground Beetle (Bembidion rufosuffusus)

The Reddish-tinged Bembidion Ground Beetle was described in 1877; it is, or maybe was, restricted to the island of Saint Helena. 

Like its immediate allies, this little Bembidium is of great rarity, and confined (so far as I have observed) to the high central ridge,  – where it occurs generally (though not always) beneath the moist stems of the rotten tree ferns about Diana’s Peak and Actaeon.” [1]

***

The species appears to have not been relocated during the most recent field studies and is thus believed to be possibly extinct.

*********************

References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

*********************

Photo: David Maddison 

(under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

*********************

edited: 30.05.2021

Labidura herculeana (Fabricius)

Saint Helena Giant Earwig (Labidura herculeana)

The Saint Helena Giant Earwig, described in 1798, was, as its name implies, endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

The species was by far the largest earwig in the world, reaching lenghts of over 8 cm; it was blackish and had reddish-brown colored legs.

The Saint Helena Giant Earwig was last seen alive in 1967, it is considered extinct since; the reasons for its extinction can be found in habitat loss and the introduction of rodents and insect-eating centipedes.

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Depiction: Alexander Lang

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edited: 02.06.2021

Valenfriesia congener (Wollaston)

Congeneric Fungus Beetle (Valenfriesia congener)

This species was described in 1877; it is, or rather was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

The species appears to have been quite common when it was discovered, however, it was apparently already restricted to the small areas of forest remains in the higher parts of the island.:

My examples (about a dozen in number) of this Notioxenus were taken, in company with the N. rufopictus, on the high central ridge, – in the vicinity of Actaeon and Diana’s Peak.” [1]

***

The species was last recorded in the 1970s when six specimens were collected, it was not found during any of the subsequent field searches and is now feared to be extinct. [2] 

***

The depiction below shows the closely related Red-spotted Fungus Beetle (Valenfriesia rufopicta (Wollaston)).

*********************

References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

*********************

Red-spotted Fungus Beetle (Valenfriesia rufopicta)

Depiction from: ‘T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877’

(public domain)

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edited: 26.05.2021

Nesiota elliptica (Roxb.) Hook. f.

Saint Helena Olive (Nesiota elliptica)

This was the sole member of its genus, endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Saint Helena Oliva was a small tree, growing up to 4 m tall; its leaves were 5 to 8 cm long and 2 to 3,5 cm wide, it had pinkish red flowers. 

The species was already almost extinct by the beginning of the 19th century, only about 15 trees survived at that time, and the species was finally considered extinct sometimes later. In 1977 a last surviving individual was discovered at Diana’s Peak, the island’s highest mountain. This last survivor, however, was afflicted by a fungal disease and it died in 1994.

There were also some attempts to safe the species by taking cuttings, respectively a cutting which died in 1997, and by producing seedlings, which was quite problematic because its flowers were nearly completely self-incompatible, so only four seedlings could be produced of which the last one – the last member of its species – died in December 2003.

*********************

Depiction from: ‘John Charles Meliss: St. Helena: A Physical, Historical, and Topographical Description of the Island, including its Geology, Fauna, Flora, and Meteorology. London: L. Reeve & Co. 1875’   

(public domain)

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edited: 29.05.2021

Homoeodera nodulipennis Wollaston

Knobbly-winged Fungus Weevil (Homoeodera nodulipennis 

The genus Homoeodera, which is endemic to the island of Saint Helena, currently comprises 14 described and at least one undescribed species.  

***

The Knobbly-winged Fungus Weevil is known only from the two specimens, from which the species had been described in 1877.  The species appears to have been closely associated to a single host plant, the Saint Helena Gumwood (Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum (Roxb.) Cronk), which today is likewise extinct. [2]  

See also Thomas Vernon Wollaston in 1877 (Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae).:  

The only two examples of this marvellous little insect which I have yet seen were captured by myself, early in February, at the extreme edge of the tremendous precipice, or crater-wall (constituting the south-western portion of the great central ridge), immediately above West Lodge, – in one of the most exposed and windy spots it is possible to imagine. So difficult indeed was it, on account of the violence of the gale, to examine, even in the most imperfect manner, any thing that presented itself, that I feel almost satisfied that I inadvertently threw several specimens away, mistaking them for the seeds of plants. Nor, indeed, is their prima facie resemblance to seeds, when the limbs are contracted, altogether fanciful; for they at least have as much the appearance, at first sight, of a vegetable substance as of an animal one; and it was more by accident than any thing else that the symmetry of their outline induced me to put a couple of them into my collecting-bottle. They were obtained amongst small and broken-up sticks, I think of the common Gorse; though their close proximity to the shrubs of the Aster gummiferus [Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum (Roxb.) Cronk] (or “Little Bastard Gumwood”), which stud the inaccessible rocks and ledges below, incline me to suspect that the species may in reality belong to the fauna of that interesting but now rapidly disappearing arborescent Composite.

*********************  

References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008  

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edited: 23.03.2018

Chalcotrogus oblongior Wollaston

Longish Chalcotrogus Weevil (Chalcotrogus oblongior)  

This species was described in 1877, it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean.  

Thomas Vernon Wollaston, the author of the species writes.:  

Of this species I have seen hitherto but two examples, which were taken by myself on the high central ridge. Unfortunately they are both of them females; so that I am not able to decide whether the rostrum is at all apically-dilated (at the insertion of the antennae) in the males. ” [1]

***

The Longish Chalcotrogus Weevil was already very scarce when it was discovered and described, it was not found again during searches in 2005/06 and thus is believed to be extinct. [2]

*********************  

References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Cryptommata cucullata Wollaston

False Gumwood Weevil (Cryptommata cucullata)

This species was described in 1877, it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

Thomas Vernon Wollaston, the author of the species writes about it.:

My three examples of the C. cucullata were captured by myself, after the early summer rains, about the beginning of february, amongst dead and broken-up sticks (I believe of the Aster gummiferus, Hk. f. [Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum (Roxb.) Cronk; however, probably rather False Gumwood (Commidendrum spurium (G. Forst.) DC.)], at the extreme edge of the great precipice, or craterwall, immediately above West Lodge. It is not unlikely, therefore, that they may represent one of the nearly extinct members of the now rapidly disappearing Aster fauna.)” [1]

***

The species was associated with the False Gumwood (Commidendrum spurium) a tree of which in the 1990s only 10 individuals survived in the wild, the False Gumwood Weevil has never been recorded since the 19th century and is clearly already extinct. [2]

*********************

References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Heliotropium pannifolium Burch. ex. Hemsl.

Saint Helena Heliotrope (Heliotropium pannifolium)

The Saint Helena Heliotrope is known only from the type specimen, that was collected by the British botanist William John Burchell in 1808 near Sandy Bay on the island of Saint Helena.

The species was a shrub growing up to 1 m height.

The type, now kept in the Kew Herbarium ijn Great Britain, bears badly signs of insect caused damage. 

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edited: 14.06.2020

Benoitodes caheni (Benoit)

Cahen’s Ground Spider (Benoitodes caheni)

This species was described in 1977, it is or was endemic to the island of Saint Helena, where it appears to have been restricted to the Prosperous Bay Plain at the eastern coast of the island.

The species is/was 1,2 cm long, it has/had a reddish brown carapace and a grey abdomen.

The habitat of Cahen’s Ground Spider is now inhabited by the Brown Widow Spider (Latrodectus geometricus C. L. Koch), that was introduced in 1967, and which probably outcompited the endemic spider. 

The species was not found during recent field studies in 2003 and 2005/06 and may indeed be extinct. [1][2]

*********************

References:

[1] Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Guide to Invertebrates of Prosperous Bay Plain, St Helena and illustrated account of species found on the Eastern Arid Area (EAA), including Prosperous Bay Plain, Holdfast Tom and Horse Point Plain. Report for St Helena Government 2004
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Bembidion megalops (Wollaston)

Large-eyed Bembidion Ground Beetle (Bembidion megalops)  

The Large-eyed Bembidion Ground Beetle was described in the year 1877, at a time when it was obviously already very rare.  

See Thomas Vernon Wollaston in the year 1877 (Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae).:  

It is only within the damp and rotten stems of the old tree ferns that I have observed the B. megalops; and as I merely obtained three examples, it may be presumed to be of the greatest rarity. They were all found on the lofty, densely-wooded central ridge, in the neighbourhood of Actaeon and Diana’s Peak.”  

***

The most recent searches in the years of 2005 to 2006 were unsuccessful, and the species must be considered most likely extinct.  

*********************  

References:  

[1] T. V. Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877
[2] H. Mendel; P. Ashmole; M. Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008  

*********************

Photo: David Maddison 

(under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

********************* 

edited: 30.05.2021

Zapornia astrictocarpus (Olson)

Saint Helena Swamphen (Zapornia astrictocarpus)  

The Saint Helena Swamphen was described in 1973 based on subfossil remains that had been found on the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  

The species reached a size of about 17 cm and was completely flightless.  

The Saint Helena Swamphen, like almost all of Saint Helena’s endemic bird species, disappeared at the beginning of the 16th century, shortly after the island was occupied by European settlers which brought with them several foreign animals. [1][2][3]  

*********************  

References:  

[1] Storrs L. Olson: Evolution of the Rails of the South Atlantic Islands (Aves: Rallidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 125. 1973 
[2] Storrs L. Olson: Paleornithology of St. Helena Island, south Atlantic Ocean. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 23. 1975 
[3] Storrs L. Olson: A synopsis of the fossil Rallidae. In: S. Dillon Ripley: Rails of the World: A Monograph of the Family Rallidae. David R Godine, Boston: 339-373. 1977  

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Depiction: Alexander Lang

********************* 

edited: 20.03.2018

Napoleon vinctus Villiers

Tied-up Assassin Bug (Napoleon vinctus)

This species was described in 1976 based on a male specimen, two female specimens and several nymphs, which were found on the Central Peaks and at High Peak on the island of Saint Helena.

The Tied-up Assassin Bug reaches a length of about 1,2 cm, it is dark reddish brown colored and completely wingless.

The species was not recorded during the most recent field searches (2005 – 2006) at the type localities and may be extinct. [1]

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References:

[1] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Bembidion platyderoides Wollaston

Chestnut-brown Bembidion Ground Beetle (Bembidion platyderoides)  

The Chestnut-brown Bembidion Ground Beetle was described in 1877.  

The author of the species already mentions its rarity.:  

The unique example of the very singular Bembidium which I have above enunciated was taken by myself from the interior of the fibrous stem of a rotten tree fern [Dicksonia arborescens L’Hér.] obtained near Diana’s Peak on the lofty central ridge; and there can be no doubt that the species which it represents is of the utmost rarity.” [1]  

***

The Chestnut-brown Bembidion Ground Beetle reaches a length of about 0,45 cm.  

***

The species was not found during the most recent field searches and is thus feared to be extinct. [2]  

*********************  

References:  

[1] T. V. Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] H. Mendel; P. Ashmole; M. Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008  

*********************

Photo: David Maddison 

(under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

*********************

edited: 30.05.2021

Chilonopsis blofeldi (Forbes)

Blofeld’s Saint Helena Awl Snail (Chilonopsis blofeldi)  

Most members of the genus Chilonopsis (eight species are known) were probably extinct shortly after the establishing of settlements on Saint Helena, in the early 16th century.  

The final extinction of so many endemic snail species of Saint Helena was probably caused by the nearly complete destruction of the native vegetation by farmers and their domestic animals.  

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Depiction from ‘Edgar A. Smith: On the Land-Shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1892, 258-270’  

(public domain)

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edited: 21.03.2018

Bembidion nubigena Wollaston

Large St. Helena Bembidion Ground Beetle (Bembidion nubigena)  

The Large St. Helena Bembidion Ground Beetle was described in 1877, it reached a length of about 0,6 cm and was thus the largest member of its genus on the island of Saint Helena.  

The author of the species already mentions its rarity in 1877.:  

This is the largest of the St.-Helena Bembidia, and one which there can be little doubt is extremely rare, – the only two examples which I have seen having been taken on the lofty central ridge, on the ascent of the peak known as Actaeon.” [1]  

***

The specimens were found beneath rotting stems of the endemic St. Helena Tree Fern (Dicksonia arborescens L’Hér.).  

***

The Large St. Helena Bembidion Ground Beetle could not be located during the most recent field searches and is thus feared to be extinct. [2]  

*********************  

References:  

[1] T. V. Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] H. Mendel; P. Ashmole; M. Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008  

*********************

Photo: David Maddison 

(under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

*********************

edited: 30.05.2021

Wahlenbergia roxburghii A. DC.

Roxbourgh’s Bellflower (Wahlenbergia roxburghii)

Roxbourgh’s Bellflower was described in 1830, it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. A second form, described in 1839 as Wahlenbergia burchellii A. DC. was recently synonymized with it.

The species was a sparsely branched shrub reaching heigths of 60 to 90 cm, the leaves were 8 to 14 cm long and 2 to 3,5 cm wide, the white, bell-shaped flowers appeared in terminal inflorescences.

Roxbourgh’s Bellflower was last seen in 1873 respectively in 1877 (as Wahlenbergia burchellii A. DC.) and is now extinct.

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Depiction from: ‘John Charles Meliss: St. Helena: A Physical, Historical, and Topographical Description of the Island, including its Geology, Fauna, Flora, and Meteorology. London: L. Reeve & Co. 1875’    

(public domain)

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edited: 13.09.2020

Aplothorax burchelli Waterhouse

Burchell’s Giant Ground Beetle (Aplothorax burchelli)

Burchell’s Giant Ground Beetle was described in 1841, it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena which lies isolated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The species was completely flightless, it reached a length of 3,8 cm making it the largest of the island’s beetle species.

Burchell’s Giant Ground Beetle had been considered extinct by the end of the 19th century when in 1967 both, adult beetles as well as larvae were found. This rediscovery, however, also marks the last confirmed sighting of this species, because no additional individuals were ever found again since and the species is now clearly extinct. [1][2]

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References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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Depiction from: ‘John Charles Meliss: St. Helena: A Physical, Historical, and Topographical Description of the Island, including its Geology, Fauna, Flora, and Meteorology. London: L. Reeve & Co. 1875’  

(public domain)

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edited: 19.06.2020

Aphanocrex podarces Wetmore

Saint Helena Rail (Aphanocrex podarces)

The Saint Helena Rail species was described in 1963 on the basis of subfossil remains that were found on the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The species was amongst the largest rails, reaching a size of around 50 cm, it had relatively large wings despite being definetly flightless, it furthermore had very large feet and quite elongated claws. [1]

***

The Saint Helena Rail is now thought to be closer related to the gallinules than to the other rallid forms known from the Atlantic islands.

********************

References:

[1] Storrs L. Olson: Paleornithology of St. Helena Island, south Atlantic Ocean. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 23. 1975

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edited: 07.02.2020

Chilonopsis turtoni (Smith)

Turton’s Saint Helena Awl Snail (Chilonopsis turtoni)  

This variable species was described in the year 1892.  

Turton’s Saint Helena Awl Snail was obviously still extant in the middle of the 19th century, since some individuals were found at the higher elevations of Saint Helena, crawling among the remnants of the native vegetation.  

The shells reached a height of about 1,7 cm. [1]  

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References:  

[1] Edgar A. Smith: On the Land-Shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 258-270. 1892  

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Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata, Vol. 17, African Achatinidae 1904-1905’  

(public domain)

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edited: 21.03.2018

Chilonopsis melanioides (Wollaston)

Dark Saint Helena Awl Snail (Chilonopsis melanioides 

This species was described in the year 1878 based on specimens that were collected at Diana’s Peak, Saint Helena’s highest point, at an elevation of about 600 m.  

The shells reached a height of 0,9 to 1,1 cm.  

***

The species was still extant, when it was discovered, but nevertheless it was already in the state of final extinction, see hereto Thomas Vernon Wollaston in the year 1878 (Testacea Atlantica).:  

… though a single living example which was secured by Mr. P. Whitehead in an immediately adjoining locality sufficed abundantly to indicate the modus vivendi of the species, – it having been taken at the roots of one of the damp masses of intermingled moss and grass which pad the base of the perpendicular rocks formed by the excavation of what is known as the ‘Cabbage-Tree Road’. There can be little doubt, consequently, that the S. melanioides will be ascertained to occur in humid places generally along the northern slopes of the ridge below Diana’s Peak.” [1]  

*********************  

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] Edgar A. Smith: On the Land-Shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 258-270. 1892  

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Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 17, African Achatinidae 1904-1905’  

(public domain)

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edited: 21.03.2018

Chilonopsis subplicatus (Sowerby)

Subplicate Saint Helena Awl Snail (Chilonopsis subplicatus)

The Subplicate Saint Helena Awl Snail was described in 1844 on the basis of subfossil shells that were found in deposits on the island of Saint Helena.:

Quite distinct from any other known species and of elongate form like the section Peronaeus. The Cochlicopa terebellum of Sowerby, a slightly more slender form, is evidently merely a slight variety in which the plications at the suture, probably through the worn condition of the specimens, appear to be less developed.“ [1]

***

The species might very well have survived into quite recent times and probably disappeared only after the arrival of the first human settlers in the 16th century.

*********************

References:

[1] Edgar A. Smith: On the land-shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 258-270. 1892

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Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata, Vol. 17, African Achatinidae 1904-1905’  

(public domain)

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edited: 29.05.2021

Chalcotrogus apionides Wollaston

Sharp-snouted Chalcotrogus Weevil (Chalcotrogus apionides)  

This species was described in the year 1877, it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean.  

Thomas Vernon Wollaston, the author of the species writes.:  

The C. apionides is extremely scarce, and confined to the high central ridge, – where normally it is, without doubt, attached to the damp and decayed wood of the old cabbage-trees. In such situations I have met with it along the “Cabbage Tree Road,” immediately below Diana’s Peak and Actaeon; but at Cason’s, like so many of the Cossinids in that particular locality, it has adapted itself almost equally to the pines, – beneath the dead trunks of which I captured it, not uncommonly, particularly about February, in company with the Pseudomesoxeni and varies species of Microxylobius, after the early summer rains.“ [1] 

Thus, the species was already very rare, when it was first discovered.  

The last records date from the years 1965/66, when the species was found during field surveys, unfortunately it was not found during all later surveys in the years 2005/06 and is now almost certainly extinct. [2]  

*********************  

References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 02.12.2018

Stonasla undulata White

Undulated Hopper (Stonasla undulata)

The Undulated Hopper is endemic to the island of Saint Helena; it was originally found in the remaining native vegetation at Casons, more or less in the center of the island.

The species was adapted to the endemic Dogwood tree (Nesohedyotis arborea (Roxb.) Bremek.).

It reaches a length of 0,8 to 0,9 cm and is yellowish green colored, its hemelytra bear some undulated darker stripes.

The species was not found during the latest field searches and might indeed be already extinct. [1] 

*********************

References:

[1] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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Photo: Tristan Bantock; The Natural History Museum

(under creative commons license (2.0))  
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

*********************

edited: 25.05.2021

Bembidion dicksoniae (Wollaston)

Tree Fern Bembidion Ground Beetle (Bembidion dicksoniae)  

The twelve species of the genus Bembidion, known to occur on Saint Helena, prey on endemic weevil species (Curculionidae), which often are dependent on rotten wood.  

In recent times, however, the climatical conditions in the remaining endemic cloud forests of Saint Helena have changed – less rain led to a much more open canopy, which again led to much drier conditions at ground level, which again seems to be quite detrimetal to the rotting process, leading to a lack of rotten wood.  

***

The Tree Fern Bembidion Ground Beetle was found mostly inside, but sometimes also on the surface of the stems of the Saint Helena Tree Fern (Dicksonia arborescens L’Hér.).  

See also Thomas Vernon Wollaston in the year 1877 (Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae).:  

The modus vivendi of this Bembidium is precisely similar to that of the preceding and four following ones, – it having been obtained from the interior of the damp fibrous stems of the dead tree ferns on the high central ridge in the vicinity of Diana’s Peak. It is without doubt extremely rare; nevertheless I met with 17 examples of it, from first to last, by bringing amay portions of the old Dicksonias and breaking them up carefully, at home, into small fragments, over a white cloth, – which embodies a far more successful method for securing these Filicophilous Coleoptera than by examining the trunks hastily in situ.”  

***

The most recent searches (2005 to 2006) failed to find any sign of the Tree Fern Bembidion Ground Beetle (and the other endemic Bembidion species), the species is therefore considered very likely extinct.  

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References:  

[1] T. V. Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] H. Mendel; P. Ashmole; M. Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008 

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Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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edited: 30.05.2021

Campolaemus perexilis Smith

Smith Saint Helena Whorl Snail (Campolaemus perexilis)  

This tiny creature, like so many other of Saint Helena’s endemic snails, fell victim to the nearly complete destruction of the native vegetation by clearings of the island’s forests for timber and fire wood, as well as by feral animals, above all by goats.  

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References:  

[1] Edgar A. Smith: On the Land-Shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 258-270. 1892
[2] Barna Páll-Gergely: Campolaemus Pilsbry, 1892 is not a hypselostomatid, but a streptaxid (Gastropoda: Eupulmonata). Ruthenica 30(1): 69-73. 2020

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Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata, Vol. 25, Pupillidae (Gastrocoptinae, Vertigininae), 1918-1920′  

(public domain)

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edited: 23.05.2015

Nesiobius fimbriatus (Wollaston)

Fringed Nesiobius Weevil (Nesiobius fimbriatus)  

The Fringed Nesiobius Weevil was described in 1877; it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena; it inhabited the gumwood forests dominated by Gumwood (Commidendrum robustum (Roxb.) DC.) where the animals were found at the forest floor in decaying wood.:

Thompson’s Wood is the only spot in which I observed this well-marked Nesiotes; and although the whole of my examples (22 in number) were obtained by shaking and sifting broken-up sticks and rubbish which were lying on the ground, nevertheless since the majority of the trees in that particular locality are gumwoods, I have little doubt that the N. fimbriatus belongs in reality to the gumwood fauna.” [1]

***

The species was not relocated during the latest field searches and is believed to be extinct. [2]

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References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008  

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edited: 29.05.2021

Bulweria bifax Olson

Olson’s Petrel (Bulweria bifax)

Olson’s Petrel was described in 1975 based on fossil remains found in Pleistocene deposits on the island of Saint Helena; further remains of the species were subsequently also found in Holocene deposits.

The species disappeared shortly after the first human settlers arrived on the island in 1502.

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edited: 29.05.2021

Trochetiopsis melanoxylon (Sol. ex Sims) Marais

Dwarf Ebony (Trochetiopsis melanoxylon)

The Dwarf Ebony, also known as Saint Helena Ebony, was one of altogether three species within its genus, all endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the middle of the vast Atlantic Ocean.

The species was a smaller tree with beautiful white flowers, it was once quite common and covered the slopes of its home island; it was among the first plants that fell victim to the feral goats, imported to the island at the end of the 18th century, and who ran amok amongst the island’s endemic vegetation.

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Depiction from: ‘John Charles Meliss: St. Helena: A Physical, Historical, and Topographical Description of the Island, including its Geology, Fauna, Flora, and Meteorology. London: L. Reeve & Co. 1875’   

(public domain)

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edited: 29.05.2021

Chilonopsis exulatus (Reeve)

Banished Saint Helena Awl Snail (Chilonopsis exulatus 

This species, like all members of the genus, comes from the island of Saint Helena, it was described in the year 1852 based on subfossil shells.  

The shells reached a height of ca. 2 cm.  

***

The species seems to have survived quite long, maybe even until the beginning of the 19th century, Thomas Vernon Wollaston writes hereto in the year 1878 (Testacea Atlantica).:  

My own belief however is that in all probability it was as much subfossilized as are the bleached and still coloured examples of the B. helena, Quoy, which lie scattered loosely in many places on the summit of the Barn; and until further evidence therefore has been adduced, I suspect that it will be safer to treat it as belonging to the extinct fauna of the island, though with the appearance of its having lingeredon (like the B. helena) into comparatively recent times.” [1]  

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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. 17, African Achatinidae 1904-1905’  

(public domain)

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edited: 21.03.2018

Helenodiscus vernoni (Smith)

Wollaston’s Saint Helena Discus Snail (Helenodiscus vernoni)  

Wollaston’s Saint Helena Discus Snail was described in the year 1892 on the basis of subfossil shells, which were found at the so called Side Path, a steep mountain pass, that connects the two villages of Briars Village and Jamestown in the north east part of the island of Saint Helena.  

The shells of this species reached an average size of about 1,2 cm.  

The species died out sometimes after the beginning of the permanent European settlement of the island in the 16.th century.  

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Depiction from: ‘G. W. Tryon; H. A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 8, Helicidae Vol. 6. 1892’  

(public domain)

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edited: 21.03.2018

Pupa obliquicostulata Smith

Saint Helena Pupa Snail (Pupa obliquicostulata)  

The species is known from Sugarloaf Quarry on the island of Saint Helena, Southern Atlantic Ocean, the shells are only about 0,2 cm in height.  

The species is extinct.  

This tiny snail was already extinct for a long time, when it was described in the year 1892 on the basis of empty shells.  

***

Another species from the Whorl Snail family (Vertigidae), also coming from the island of Saint Helena, Turton’s Pupa Snail (Nesopupa turtoni (Smith)), was described at the same time and also only on the basis of empty shells (as Pupa turtoni Smith).  It was considered extinct from the outset too, but was rediscovered alive in the year 2003.  

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Depiction from: ‘Edgar A. Smith: On the Land-Shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 258-270. 1892’  

(public domain)

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edited: 06.09.2014

Helenoconcha leptalea (Smith)

Slender Saint Helena Snail (Helenoconcha leptalea)

The Slender Saint Helena Snail was described in 1892, apparently on the basis of subfossil shells that were recovered from the so-called Sugarloaf Quarry on the island of Saint Helena. 

The shells of this species are much smaller than those of the closely related Many-toothed Saint Helena Snail (Helenoconcha polyodon (Sowerby)); they were flatter, much more finely striated and differed furthermore by their oral armature. [1]

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References:

[1] Edgar A. Smith: On the land-shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 1892: 258-270

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Depiction from: ‘G. W. Tryon; H. A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 8, Helicidae Vol. 6. 1892’

(public domain)

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edited: 29.05.2021

Tarphiophasis tuberculatus Wollaston

Tuberculated Tarphiophasis Beetle (Tarphiophasis tuberculatus)

The Tuberculated Tarphiophasis Beetle was described in 1877; it is, or rather was, endemic to the island of Saint Helena.

The species appears to have already been quite rare when it was discovered.:

The only two examples of this coarsely tuberculated, Tarphius-like insect which I have seen were captured by myself beneath pieces of rotten wood in the Aster-grove beyond West Lodge and overlooking Lufkins, and there can be no doubt that the species is amongst the rarest of the St.-Helena Coleoptera.” [1]

***

The Tuberculated Tarphiophasis Beetle was not found during the most recent field searches and might very well be extinct.

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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edited: 26.05.2021

Nesiobius breviusculus (Wollaston)

Short Nesiobius Weevil (Nesiobius breviusculus)  

The Short Nesiobius Weevil was described in 1877, it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena, where it inhabited the Cabbage Tree forests, dominated by species like the She Cabbage (Lachanodes arborea(Roxb.) B. Nord.) and the He Cabbage (Melanodendron integrifolium (Roxb.) DC.) on the island’s Central Plateau.:

It is a scarce species, so far as my own observations are concerned, but one which is nevertheless widely distributed along the whole central ridge, – my examples being from the vicinity of Diana’s Peak, as well as from High Peak and above West Lodge; and, unless it be in any way connected with the Aster gummiferus (or “Little Bastard Gummwood”) [Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum (Roxb.) Cronk], which is far from impossible, I think that we must regard it as a member of the great cabbage-tree fauna.” [1]

***

The species was not found during the many recent field searches and is now considered extinct. [2]  

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References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008  

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edited: 29.05.2021

Tychiorhinus porrectus Wollaston

Stretched Saint Helena Weevil (Tychiorhinus porrectus)  

This species was described in 1877, it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena, where it apparently was restricted to the central ridge.  

T. V. Wollaston, the author of the species writes in 1877.:  

…, – the whole of my examples (only eleven, however, in numer) having been taken by myself at Cason’s. Although without doubt attached normally to the cabbage-trees (from whithin the loose rotting masses of which some of my individuals were obtained), it would appear nevertheless, like so many of the Cossonids in that particular locality, to have adapted itself to the pines, – beneath the old fallen trunks of which the majority of my specimens were captured.” [1]  

The Stretched Saint Helena Weevil appears to have managed to adapt itself to the changed circumstances caused by the human settlers on the island, at least for a while – it was not found during recent field searches and is now feared to be extinct. [2]  

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References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008  

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edited: 02.12.2018

Helenodiscus bilamellata (Sowerby)

Saint Helena Diskus Snail (Helenodiscus bilamellata)  

The Saint Helena Diskus Snail was described on the basis of subfossil shells, that were found on the island of Saint Helena, these shells were found among the remains of several other snail species, all of which are now extinct.  

The shells of this species reached an average size of 0,8 cm in diameter.  

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Depiction from: ‘G. W. Tryon; H. A. Pilsbry; a.o.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 8, Helicidae Vol. 6. 1892’  

(public domain)

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edited: 21.03.2018

Larus sp. ‚Saint Helena‘

Undetermined Gull (Larus sp.)

This form will be mentioned here only for the sake of completeness, because most likely it doesn’t constitute a special species. [1]

***

Only a single bone fragment is known, the proximal end of a right humerus, that originates from a large gull species, but which cannot be assigned to any certain species.

Most likely this fragment is a remain of a bird that only stayed on the island as a guest. 

The most likely candidate, in my opinion, might be the Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus Lichtenstein), which still regularly visits the islands of the Tristan da Cunha archipelago without breeding there. [1] 

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References:  

[1] S. L. Olson: Paleornithology of St. Helena Island, south Atlantic Ocean. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 23. 1975

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edited: 29.04.2021

Stonasla consors White

Straight-lined Hopper (Stonasla consors)

The Straight-lined Hopper is endemic to the island of Saint Helena, where it was apparently found in the remainders of native vegetation on Diana’s Peak and Halley’s Mount.

The species appears to have adapted to the endemic St. Helena Dogwood tree (Nesohedyotis arborea (Roxb.) Bremek.).

It reaches sizes of about 0,7 to 0,9 cm; it is brownish.

The Straight-lined Hopper was not fund during the latest field searches and might indeed be extinct. [1] 

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References:

[1] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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Photo: Tristan Bantock; The Natural History Museum

(under creative commons license (2.0))  
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

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edited: 25.05.2021

Xestophasis xerophilus Decelle & Voss

Xerophile Saint Helena Weevil (Xestophasis xerophilus)

The Xerophile Saint Helena Weevil was described in 1972; it is endemic to the island of Saint Helena, where again it is restricted to the Prosperous Bay Plain, usually in association with its food plant, the Samphire (Suaeda fruticosa Forssk. ex J. F. Gmel.).

The species was found to be extremely localized in its distribution in the 1960s and was not recorded during the last field surveys in the 2000s; it may indeed be extinct now. [2]

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References:

[1] Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: The invertebrates of Prosperous Bay Plain, St Helena. September – December 2003. Commissioned by the St Helena Government and financed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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edited: 30.05.2021

Isotornus aterrimus Wollaston

Black Saint Helena Weevil (Isotornus aterrimus)   

The Black Saint Helena Weevil was described in 1877, it was endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean.  

The species was adapted to a single food plant, the endemic Boxwood (Mellissia begoniifolia (Roxb.) Hook. f.), a highly threatened shrubby species that was even extinct in the wild.  

T. V. Wollaston, the author of the species writes in 1877.:  

The present Isotornus is due to the researches of Mr. P. Whitehead, who has lately communicated to me an interesting series of examples which he captured, within the dead wood of the Mellissia begoniaefolia (or native “Boxwood”), on Rock-Rose Hill.” [1]  

***  

The species was not found during intensive field searches in 1965/66 and 2005/06 and is most probably extinct.  

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References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008  

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edited: 02.12.2018

Bembidion fossor (Wollaston)

Digging Bembidion Ground Beetle (Bembidion fossor)  

The Digging Bembidion Ground Beetle seems to have been on the edge of extinction already in the 19th century.  

See Thomas Vernon Wollaston in the year 1877 (Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae).:  

With the exception of the B. evanescens, this is the smallest of the St.-Helena Bembidia; and it is perhaps the rarest of the whole of them, being hitherto unique. My example was taken by myself from the interior of the decayed stem of a tree fern, which I had brought away for after-examination from the vicinity of Diana’s Peak.”  

***

The most recent searches in the years 2005 to 2006 failed to find any trace of this species.  

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References:  

[1] T. V. Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] H. Mendel; P. Ashmole; M. Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008  

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Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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edited: 30.05.2021

Anthicodes maculatus Wollaston

Spotted Ant-like Beetle (Anthicodes maculatus)

The genus Anthicodes currently contains about eight species, of which two (Anthicodes fragilis Woll. and Anthicodes maculatus) were found on the island of Saint Helena. Thomas Vernon Wollaston wrote about the Saint Helena spotted flower beetle in 1877 (Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae).:  

The first spot in which I met with this robust and singular Anthicid is the Aster-grove [Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum (Roxb.) Cronk] beyond West Lodge, on the inner slope of the great Sandy-Bay crater and overlooking Lufkins; and it was not until after the early summer rains, about the end of January, that it began to make its appearance more abundantly. At that time, however, it was found by Mrs. Wollaston and myself in comparative profusion, – at the edge of the tremendous precipice immediately above West Lodge, adhering to small pieces of stick which were lying on the exposed rocky soil, as well as on the only available portion of the almost inaccessible ground behind High Peak.”  

***

The species is most likely extinct today, as it could not be detected during any of the surveys of the last few years in its former range. 

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References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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edited: 07.05.2021

Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum (Roxb.) Cronk

Saint Helena Gumwood (Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum)  

The genus Commidendron consists of only four species, all of which are restricted to the island of Saint Helena.  

The 7 to 8 m tall Saint Helena Gumwood (Commidendrum robustum (Roxb.) DC.) is Saint Helena’s national tree and probably was once by far the most abundant tree on the island.  

The species can be split into two subspecies, of which the ssp. gummiferus is extinct today. However, there remains a population of hybrids at Peak Dale in the island’s southwestern center, in which this subspecies is at least genetically contained. The time of its extinction seems to be unknown.  

… but of course the reasons ….  

T. Cavendish in his report about the island (The Prosperous Voyage of M. Thomas Candish esquire into the South Sea, and so around about the circumference of the whole earth, begun in the yere 1586, and finished 1588.) wrotes:  

There are in this yland thousands of goates, which the Spaniards call Cabritos, which are very wilde: you shall see one or two hundred of them together, and sometimes you may beholde them going in a flocke almost a mile long. Some of them, (whether it be the nature of the breed of them, or of the country I wot not), are as big as an asse, with a maine like an horse and a beard hanging downe to the very ground: they will clime up the cliffes which are so steepe that a man would thinke it a thing unpossible for any living thing to goe there. We tooke and killed many of them for all their swiftnes: for there be thousands of them upon the mountaines.”  

Those trees, that escaped the goats’ appetite, were later cut down for fire wood.  

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References:  

[1] Q. C. B. Cronk: The decline of the St Helena gumwood Commidendrum robustum. Biological Conservation Vol. 35(2): 173-186. 1986  

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nominate race  

Depiction from: ‘John Charles Meliss: St. Helena: A Physical, Historical, and Topographical Description of the Island, including its Geology, Fauna, Flora, and Meteorology. London: L. Reeve & Co. 1875’  

(public domain)

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edited: 21.03.2018

Nesiobius barbatus (Wollaston)

Bearded Nesiobius Weevil (Nesiobius barbatus)  

The Bearded Nesiobius Weevil was described in the year 1877 by T. V. Wollaston on the basis of just three specimens, that he had collected by himself at a difficult to access slope at High Peak on the island of Saint Helena.:  

The only three examples which I have yet seen of this very rare Nesiotes were taken by myself on a precipitous and barely accessible slope behind High Peak and overlooking Peak Gut; and, in conjunction with the N. fimbriatus from Thompson’s Wood, it possesses a peculiar interest through the fact of its scape being powerfully barbed towards the inner apex with a cluster of coarse, elongated, squamiform bristles. This latter character, which is only faintly traceable in some of the other members of the group (and which, indeed, in the N. squamosus and simplex appears to be altogether absent), is so conspicuous in the barbatus and fimbriatus that, when taken in connexion with heir minute but very prominent eyes, the stronger and more erect setae of their entire surface, and their anteriorly much constricted prothorax, it is sufficient to place them in a different section of the genus ….” [1]

***

The species inhabited the forests dominated by the endemic Bastard Gumwood (Commidendrum rotundifolium(Roxb.) DC.), a tree species that is now completely extinct; the beetle was not fund during the recent field searches and is very likely extinct. [2]  

***

The depiction below shows the Scaled Nesiobius Weevil (Nesiobius squamosus (Wollaston)); one of the still extant species of the genus. 

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References:  

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008  

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Scaled Nesiobius Weevil (Nesiobius squamosus (Wollaston))  

Depiction from: ‚T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877‘  

(public domain)

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edited: 29.05.2021

Tychiorhinus inaequalis Wollaston

Unequal Saint Helena Weevil (Tychiorhinus inaequalis)

The Unequal Saint Helena Weevil was described in 1877; it is, or probably was, restricted to the island of Saint Helena.

The species appears to have already been on the brink of extinction when it was discovered.:

Although of extreme rarity, I have nevertheless taken the T. inaequalis in widely distant parts of the great central ridge (to which it seems to be peculiar), – namely amongst the sticks and wood of the old cabbage-trees about Diana’s Peak and Actaeon, as well as (under similar circumstances) at Cason’s, and at the edge of the precipice, or crater-wall, immediately above West Lodge.” [1]

***

The Unequal Saint Helena Weevil was not found during the most recent field surveys and is now feared to be extinct.

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References:

[1] T. Vernon Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877

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edited: 26.05.2021

Helenoconcha sexdentata (Smith)

Six-toothed Saint Helena Snail (Helenoconcha sexdentata)  

The Six-toothed Saint Helena Snail was described in 1893, as its name implies, it is, or rather was, endemic to the island of saint Helena.

This species agrees rather closely with P. pseustes, Smith, in respect of the dentition of the aperture. The palatal lamella, however, in that species is considerably stronger, and the form of the shell is very different. P. cutteri has two similar parietal lamellae, only two basal denticles, and no palatal lamella. In other respects it appears to be very similar, but a trifle larger. Watercresses (Nasturtium officinale) among which it is stated by M. Eudel [M. Emile Eudel, the collector of this species] that this species occurs, are said to be “very common in the ravines and along the mountain streams and ponds.”.” [1]

The shells reach sizes of about 0,3 cm in diameter. 

***

The Six-toothed Saint Helena Snail was apparently still found alive when it was described; it is nevertheless now considered extinct. [1]

***

The species of this genus, as well as basically all of the Saint Helena Gastropoda species, are in urgent need of a proper revision!

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References:

Edgar A. Smith: Descriptions of two new species of Patula from St. Helena. The Conchologist 2(7): 164-165. 1893

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Depiction from: ‘Edgar A. Smith: Descriptions of two new species of Patula from St. Helena. The Conchologist 2(7): 164-165. 1893’

(public domain)

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edited: 29.05.2021

Bembidion sublimbatus Wollaston

Bordered Bembidion Ground Beetle (Bembidion sublimbatus 

The Bordered Bembidion Ground Beetle, described in 1877, was obviously restricted to a very small area at the Central High Ridge in the center of Saint Helena, where the species appears to have already been rare when it was first discovered.  

Thomas Vernon Wollaston wrote about it in 1877 (Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae).:  

The only spot in which I have met with this extremely rare Bembidium is towards the western extremity of the great central ridge, immediately above the house known as West Lodge, – where, early in February, I took it, on two or three occasions, at the very edge of the tremendous precipice which overlooks the Sandy-Bay crater. It was found beneath damp wood, leaves, and sticks, amongst shrubs of the Aster gummiferus [Commidendrum robustum ssp. gummiferum (Roxb.) Cronk] and common gorse; and, although it may perhaps be more plentiful on the perfectly inaccessible Aster-clothed slopes below (extending from thence to High Peak), my utmost endeavours enabled me to secure only eight or nine specimens; though as both sexes are well represented, this is more than sufficient for all practical purposes.”  

***

The most recent field searches in 2008 found the type locality of the species being more or less completely eroded, yet did not produce any trace of the beetle itself, which is thus feared to be extinct.  

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References:  

[1] T. V. Wollaston: Coleoptera Sanctae-Helenae. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row 1877 
[2] H. Mendel; P. Ashmole; M. Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St Helena. 2008

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Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

*********************

edited: 30.05.2021

Chilonopsis helena (Quoy & Gaimard)

Saint Helena Awl Snail (Chilonopsis helena 

The Saint Helena Awl Snail was described in the year 1833 based on subfossil shells.  

***

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

The present Bulimus, which was admirably figured by Quoy in 1833, occurs rather abundantly on the extreme summit of the Barn, and in that immediate neighbourhood, lying loosely on the surface soil, beneath the shrubs of Salsola, &c., – where it has much the appearance of having lived at a comparatively recent period. At all events many of the examples have their colour and outher cuticle completely preserved, – though it is equally true that the majority of them are decomposed, decorticated, and colourless.” [1]  

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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: ‘Edgar A. Smith: On the Land-Shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 258-270. 1892’  

(public domain)

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edited: 21.03.2018

Kerzhneria hirsuta Schmitz

Kerzhner’s Damsel Bug (Kerzhneria hirsuta)

Kerzhner’s Damsel Bug, which is/was endemic to the highly isolated island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean, was described in 1977. [1]

The species was found on Cabbage Tree Road and on High Peak at the central ridge.

Kerzhner’s Damsel Bug reaches a length of only about 0,5 cm, it has an oval abdomen and minute wings and thus appears to be flightless.

The species was not found during the most recent fiels surveys in 2005/06 and may indeed be extinct, yet there is still the chance that it was just overlooked. [2]

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References:

[1] C. P. Alexander; A. M. Hutson; R. W.  Crosskey; R. P. Lane; D. A. Duckhouse; P. Van Schuytbroeck; K. G. V. Smith; P. H. S. Van Doesburg; P. H. J. Van Doesburg: Terrestrial fauna of the island of St Helena. Koninklijk Museum voor Midden Afrika Tervuren Belgie Annalen Zoologische Wetenschappen 215: 1-533. 1977
[2] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008

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edited: 21.06.2020

Nyhimbricus wollastoni (White)

Wollaston’s Leafhopper (Nyhimbricus wollastoni)  

Wollaston’s Leafhopper, which is/was endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean, was described in 1878.  

The species reaches a length of about 0,5 cm, it is distinctly pale yellow colored and bears orange marks on its head and its pronotum as well as orange bands on its forewings.  

The species was not found during intensive searches in recent years and is thus probably already extinct. [1]  

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References:  

[1] Howard Mendel; Philip Ashmole; Myrtle Ashmole: Invertebrates of the Central Peaks and Peak Dale, St. Helena. Report for the St Helena National Trust, Jamestown 2008  

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Photo: Tristan Bantock The Natural History Museum  

(under creative commons license (2.0)) 
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0

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edited: 01.12.2018

Chilonopsis nonpareil (Perry)

Large Saint Helena Awl Snail (Chilonopsis nonpareil)  

The Large Saint Helena Awl Snail is the largest member of its genus, some shells reached sizes of up to 4,7 cm.  

***

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

The B. auris-vulpina, which has been brought from St. Helena by almost every naturalist who has visited the island during the last fifty years, appears to be quite extinct; though the comparatively perfect preservation of occasional examples, in which the outher cuticle is hardly destroyed and even the colour is partially traceable, would perhaps imply that it must have lingered on to a somewhat recent period.” [1]  

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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: ‘Edgar A. Smith: On the Land-Shells of St. Helena. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 258-270. 1892’  

(public domain)

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edited: 21.03.2018