Further twists in gastropod shell evolution

Clements, Reuben and Thor, Seng Liew and Vermeulen, Jaap Jan and Schilthuizen , Menno (2008) Further twists in gastropod shell evolution. Biology Letters, 4 (2). pp. 179-182. ISSN 1744-9561

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2007.0602

Abstract

The manner in which a gastropod shell coils has long intrigued laypersons and scientists alike. In evolutionary biology, gastropod shells are among the best-studied palaeontological and neontological objects. A gastropod shell generally exhibits logarithmic spiral growth, right-handedness and coils tightly around a single axis. Atypical shell-coiling patterns (e.g. sinistroid growth, uncoiled whorls and multiple coiling axes), however, continue to be uncovered in nature. Here, we report another coiling strategy that is not only puzzling from an evolutionary perspective, but also hitherto unknown among shelled gastropods. The terrestrial gastropod Opisthostoma vermiculum sp. nov. generates a shell with: (i) four discernable coiling axes, (ii) body whorls that thrice detach and twice reattach to preceding whorls without any reference support, and (iii) detached whorls that coil around three secondary axes in addition to their primary teleoconch axis. As the coiling strategies of individuals were found to be generally consistent throughout, this species appears to possess an unorthodox but rigorously defined set of developmental instructions. Although the evolutionary origins of O. vermiculum and its shell's functional significance can be elucidated only once fossil intermediates and live individuals are found, its bewildering morphology suggests that we still lack an understanding of relationships between form and function in certain taxonomic groups. © 2008 The Royal Society.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Conchology, Karst, Malaysia, Mollusca, Morphology, Snail
Subjects:?? QL360-599.82 ??
Divisions:SCHOOL > Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation
ID Code:2690
Deposited By:IR Admin
Deposited On:05 Apr 2011 15:44
Last Modified:17 Feb 2015 17:16

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