Problematic taxa from Morocco – the status of 'Helix argonautula' Webb & Berthelot, 1833, 'Helix renati' Dautzenberg, 1894 and Xeroleuca antoinei Pallary, 1936.¹
Author & date of last revision: admin on 20 November 2011
"Helix" argonautula (Webb & Berthelot, 1833) has been reported from both the Canary Islands and Morocco but the systematic position of this taxa and it’s affinity to the Madeiran Geomitrinae (sensu Mandahl-Barth 1950) is unclear. Examination of shell material from Morocco and Canary Islands have revealed two distinct and differing species, hence the taxonomic status is reviewed. Although most authors attribute the initial use of the name "Helix" argonautula to the species on the Canaries, the type specimens (from Terver) are identical to the Moroccan species, hence the Moroccan taxon should take the name argonautula. The species present on the Canary Islands is not Helix argonautula, and a new species name is given and a lectotype designated from Wollaston material in the Melvill-Tomlin Collection. Helix renati Dautzenberg, 1894 has a similar shell form to moroccan shells of "Helix" argonautula. Given that it is possible to have very similar shells for anatomically different animals both names are maintained until anatomical revision is possible. In addition there is a third species with similar shell characters, Xeroleuca antoinei, described by Pallary from this region. Examination of genital anatomy suggests that this species should be placed in the genus Helicella, and the ecology and distribution of this species is described..
Taxonomy, "Helicopsis" renati, Helicella antoinei, Grand Canary, Morocco, Lectotype.