Pomacea insularum is now Pomacea maculata!

P. maculata shells

Dr. Romi Burks from Southwestern University emailed me recently and asked me to “alert people about to the paper by Ken Hayes and his colleagues” that changes the taxonomy of the Island Apple Snail. After Dr. Robert Dillion of the College of Charleston suggested the same thing months ago, I published the abstract of the excellent and exhaustive report Comparing apples with apples: clarifying the identities of two highly invasive Neotropical Ampullariidae in the Recent Reports section of this blog. However, I must admit some defiance (laziness?) to changing the scientific name throughout this site. My poor, old brain just wishes the taxonomists would make up their minds, so I would not have to relearn scientific names. I know I’m not alone. However, as Romi writes, “What’s in a name, one might ask? A whole lot!!” So, it’s official – – Pomacea insularum is no more, or as Ken Hayes et al put it: “Ampullaria gigas Spix, 1827 and Ampullaria insularum d’Orbigny, 1835 are herein synonymized with P. maculata.” Sorry, I’m just the messenger!

Comparing apples with apples: clarifying the identities of two highly invasive Neotropical Ampullariidae (Caenogastropoda) by KENNETH A. HAYES1,*, ROBERT H. COWIE1, SILVANA C. THIENGO2, and ELLEN E. STRONG3, 1Center for Conservation Research and Training, Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii, 3050 Maile Way, Gilmore 408, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA,2Instituto Oswaldo Cruz/Fiocruz, Av. Brasil 4365, 2104-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil,3Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 37012, MRC 163, Washington, DC, WA 20013-7012, USA, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 166, Issue 4, pp 723–753, December 2012

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2012.00867.x/abstract;jsessionid=EFB0C1573E4E5BA869B0E679F7F3642F.d04t01?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

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1 Response to “Pomacea insularum is now Pomacea maculata!”


  1. 1 Romi Burks March 28, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    thanks Jess for the update! Just to elaborate on “a lot” in the above. For better than worse, each name of a species serves as a hypothesis for its relationship to others. As we learn more and more about these invasive snails, a renewed energy toward taxonomy and those working with molecular phylogeny determine similar traits that necessitate changing the name. For invasive species, this becomes increasingly important so that no loopholes exist if legislation or restrictions measures come into play. Using the proper name also acknowledges how far we have come in determining how we define a species. No need to go back and correct past papers – they can be considered “correct” based on what we knew at that time. The important part comes with moving forward in research.


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About Snail Busters

The Snail Busters Blog was created to facilitate communication between aquatic resource managers who are fighting the spread of invasive, South American apple snails, specifically Pomacea maculata (formerly P. insularum) and P. canaliculata, in the U.S.

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