Elena Gavetti, Stefano Birindelli, Marco Bodon & Giuseppe Manganelli. Regione Piemonte Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Monografie XLIV 2008. Hardback with dustcover, 273pp. In Italian. ISBN 978-88-86041-71-3. Price €50 + postage.
This work presents the results of a 10 year study to map the mollusc fauna of the Susa Valley. The valley lies mostly in north-west Italy (with the city of Turin to the east) but with some parts in France in the Departments of Savoie and Hautes-Alpes. The actual area of the catchment does not appear to be given but is approximately 100km long and 20km wide, and ranges from 290 to 3400m in altitude. The authors have collected information from nearly 400 locations in the valley.
Introductory sections give information on the geography, geology and vegetation cover of the study area supported by coloured maps, plus materials and methods. The bulk of the book is taken up with accounts of the 159 species recorded – comprising 121 terrestrial and 38 freshwater species. The page for each species comprises a synonymy, distribution map, details of habitat, distribution and observations, plus a colour photograph. The distribution maps are particularly effective as the symbols are shown in colour on colour relief maps. Therefore the discrimination between, for example, valley floor and higher altitude species is immediately obvious without any cross referencing back to maps elsewhere. One has come to expect very high quality close up images in any work these days and those used in this book are, on the whole, no exception. A considerable number of the photographs are of living, crawling snails, those for the Chilostoma species and clausilids are especially beautiful. Many of the smaller species are shown only as shells although the live Pagodulina austeniana is exquisite. The photographs of the unionids with their foot out trying to bury in wet sand doesn’t work so well though. The conclusions sections include an analysis of the fauna, analysis from ecological and biogeographical perspectives and conservation.
It would be easy to suggest that the results from this type of study is easily disseminated through local and national record centres and web sites, but most of us involved in any biogeographical study would be thrilled to have a work such as this as the end product. The book is well presented, beautifully produced and at €50 is good value. Anyone working on the biogeography of European nonmarine molluscs should buy a copy and enjoy! For further details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Elena Gavetti, Stefano Birindelli, Marco Bodon & Giuseppe Manganelli. (2009)
Originally published in Mollusc World 19