Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter


from the November 6, 2011 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO

Monday morning, my first day back, it was raining when the new snail turned up on my clothes-washing stand, or batea. That's it above.

Bea figured this one out as belonging to the genus Orthalicus, but we had problems deciding on the species. However, on the internet we found a real malacologist -- a mollusk expert -- specializing in neotropical snails. He was Bram Breure at the National Museum of Natural History in The Netherlands, and he helped us out.

Upon seeing the above picture he wrote, "It is always hard to ID a snail with only one picture, especially these orthalicids as they are bewildering variable. Your picture of Orthalicus is likely O. princeps (Broderip in Sowerby, 1833), given the locality. O. undatus is an Antillean species, and O. ponderosus a northern Mexican."

So: ORTHALICUS PRINCEPS is distributed from southern Mexico through Central America into northern South America.

On the Internet, except for a paper describing the species' sexual parts (authored by Bram Breure himself), there's not much more information about this snail. Therefore, maybe we're helping science a little by announcing that in the Central Yucatán at the end of the rainy season on a rainy morning in early November it's possible to find Orthalicus princeps slowly wandering across a fellow's built-of-stone, outside clothes-washing batea.