Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Taxon of the Day: Smeagol manneringi

Unidentified species of Smeagol

Today's Taxon of the Day has been produced by Thomas Kunze for all the Tolkienists out there. He writes:

Smeagol manneringi Climo 1980 is a marine slug originally found on a limestone gravel beach in New Zealand. It lives in the intertidal zone, well hidden under rocks and has a strange appearance and quite drab exterior. A recent phylogenetic analysis allowed Climo to place it in Pulmonata, an unranked and informal group of gastropods. In 2010 Neusser et al. placed it in the Eupulmonata, which includes other significant gastropod species like the members of the slug genus Arion, which includes the Spanish slug, one of a number of species that we commonly find eating our gardens, plus the highly appreciated culinary Burgundy snail.

“A slug to find them ...”
Climo named it after the famous character Smeagol from Tolkien’s notable novels The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. After finding The ring (“My Precious" ) the hobbit Smeagol becomes Gollum, living most of the time subterreanean as the slug Smeagol does. As a further reason for this name Climo mentioned that the slug Smeagol looks quite strange from the outside, but after studying its internal anatomy the pulmonate relation could be revealed rather easily.

Up to now four further species of monotypic genus Smeagol have been described in the family Smeagolidae.

CoL Annual Checklist page: Smeagol manneringi
CoL contributor: WORMS
Image copyright: 
Katharina M. Jörger, Isabella Stöger, Yasunori Kano, Hiroshi Fukuda, Thomas Knebelsberger & Michael Schrödl (top)  Link

Guillermogp Guillermo García-Pimentel Ruiz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (bottom)

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