Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 June 2016 | 8(6): 8934–8937





On the occurrence of Theobaldius(?) tristis (Blanford, 1869) (Caenogastropoda: Cyclophoridae) in the northern Western Ghats, Maharashtra, India



Amrut R. Bhosale 1, Tejas S. Patil 2, Rupesh B. Yadav 3 & Dipak V. Muley 4


1–4 Department of Zoology, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Maharashtra 416004, India

1, 2, 3, 4 (corresponding author)



doi: | ZooBank:


Editor: Basudev Tripathy, Zoological Survey of India, New Alipore, India. Date of publication: 26 June 2016 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 2357 | Received 09 October 2015 | Finally accepted 27 May 2016


Citation: Bhosale, A.R., T.S. Patil, R.B. Yadav & D.V. Muley (2016). On the occurrence of Theobaldius(?) tristis (Blanford, 1869) (Caenogastropoda: Cyclophoridae) in the northern Western Ghats, Maharashtra, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(6): 8934–8937;


Copyright: © Bhosale et al. 2016. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: DBT (IPLS programme - Grant No. BT/PR4572/INF/22/147/2012), New Delhi.


Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: We are thankful to DBT (IPLS programme - Grant No. BT/PR4572/INF/22/147/2012), New Delhi for financial support and encouragement. We are also thankful to the Department of Zoology, Shivaji Universty, Kolhapur for providing laboratory facilities. We would like to thank Dr. D. Raheem for help and comments. We would like to thank the Maharashtra Forest Department for providing permission for conducting the study. We are thankful to Dr. Pankaj Bhatnagar, Officer-in-charge, and S.R. Patil, Zoological Survey of India, WRC, Pune for identification. We are also thankful to Yadav Omkar and Raut Gopal for helping us during the collection.




The Western Ghats of India has an evolutionarily diverse land-snail fauna that is dominated by species endemic to this region. A total of 277 species and 29 varieties (belonging to 64 genera in 23 families) have been recorded with 72% of the species being endemic to this region (Raheem et al. 2014). Available evidence indicates that many of these endemic snails are confined to geographically restricted parts of the Western Ghats (Aravind et al. 2005, 2008), with a substantial component of the fauna restricted to the Ghats south of Maharashtra State, i.e., central and southern Western Ghats (sensu Raheem et al. 2014). One such restricted–range species is Theobaldius(?) tristis (Blanford, 1869). Here, we present new distributional records for T. tristis, in effect the first published record for nearly a century, and show that the range of this snail is more widespread than previously thought (Image 1).

The land-caenogastropod genus Theobaldius has a distribution centred in the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, with T. tristis and six other species being endemic to the Western Ghats (Gude 1921; Raheem et al. 2014). The adult shell of T. tristis is distinguished from other South Asian species in the genus by the notch on the lip of the shell (the notch is located on the dorsal edge of the lip, near the suture, Image 2) and a distinctive operculum, which is figured here for the first time (Image 3). In its fresh, unworn state, the operculum is characterised by raised, finely spinose edges to the whorls. There has been some doubt as to the generic placement of this snail. It was originally placed in Pterocyclos, then moved to Cyclophorus and subsequently placed in Theobaldius (Gude 1921). It’s placement in Theobaldius is uncertain because although the operculum shares some similarities with other Theobaldius species (Raheem et al. 2014), the notched shell superficially resembles Pterocyclos. Pterocyclos however has a raised operculum that is partly calcified (Gude 1921).

Until recently T. tristis had only been known from two localities in the central and southern Western Ghats: the type locality, “South Kanara” and “Tinnevelly” (see Table 1 for further details, Image 1) note that, both these places refer not to point localities, but to geographically extensive political areas of the late colonial period, most likely “South Kanara” District (4021 square miles, Meyer et al. 1908–1931, vol. 14, p. 353) and “Tinnevelly” District (5389 square miles, Meyer et al. 1908–1931, vol. 23, p. 361). The new records of T. tristis are from two forested localities in Kolhapur District, southern Maharashtra and thus extend the distribution of T. tristis well into the northern Western Ghats. The new records are respectively from: New Karanje, near Radhanagari (16022’14.5”N & 73056’51.9”E, elevation 750m) and Wadi Kalakvan, near Amba (16054’47.3”N & 73047’31.8”E, elevation 822m). At both the localities, T. tristis was found in moist leaf litter on the forest floor. Representative samples were collected, imaged (Image 4) and identification confirmed using the original description by Blanford (1867), Description by Gude (1921) and images of the type material of T. tristis (Raheem et al. 2014) and shells were deposited in the National Zoological collection of Zoological Survey of India, WRC, Pune (Reg. No. Moll.1631, 06.x.2015). The average annual rainfall varies from 480–6000 mm across Kolhapur District and New Karanje and Wadi Kalakvan are located on the wet, northwestern edge of the district. The characteristic natural forest type of this area is rainforest.

Our discovery of T. tristis from the northern Western Ghats parallels those for other taxa. For example, both the toad Duttaphrynus scaber (Padhye et al. 2013) and the wasp Megacampsomeris cochinensis (Jadhav & Gaikwad 2014) have only been very recently reported from the northern Western Ghats. These findings underline the need for extensive surveys of the lesser known fauna of the northern Western Ghats. Given the highly threatened status of the biota of the Western Ghats (Cincotta et al. 2000; Bawa et al. 2007; Sloan et al. 2014) this is an urgent priority.













Aravind, N.A., R.K. Patil & N.A. Madhyastha (2008). Micromolluscs of the Western Ghats, India: diversity, distribution and threats. Zoosymposia 1: 281–294.

Aravind, N.A., K.P. Rajashekhar & N.A. Madhyastha (2005). Species diversity, endemism and distribution of land snails of the Western Ghats, India. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 68: 31–38.

Bawa, K.S., A. Das, J. Krishnaswamy, K.U. Karanth, N.S. Kumar & M. Rao (2007). Ecosystem Profile (Western Ghats & Sri Lanka Biodiversity Hotspot) - Western Ghats Region. A report prepared by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund, final version, May 2007. Available at: [accessed 21 February 2014].

Blanford, W.T. (1869). Contributions to Indian Malacology, No. X. Descriptions of new species of Cyclophoridae, of Ennea and Streptaxis from the hills of Southern and South-western India. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 38(2): 125–143.

Cincotta, R.P., J. Wisnewski & R. Engelman (2000). Human population in the biodiversity hotspots. Nature 404: 990–992.

Gude, G.K. (1921). The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Land Operculates (Cyclophoridae, Truncatellidae, Assimineidae, Helicinidae). Taylor and Francis, London.

Jadhav, M. & S.M. Gaikwad (2014). Megacampsomeris cochinensis (Betrem, 1928) (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Scoliidae): First record from North Western Ghats of Maharashtra, India. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies 2(6): 261–263.

Meyer, W.S., R. Burn, J.S. Cotton & H.H. Risley (1908–1931). The Imperial Gazetteer of India. New edition, published under the authority of His Majesty’s Secretary of State for India in Council. 26 volumes. Clarendon Press, Oxford. Available for reference online through the Digital South Asia Library: [accessed 21 February 2014].

Padhye, A., R. Pandit, R. Patil, S. Gaikwad, N. Dahanukar & Y. Shouche (2013). Range extension of Ferguson’s Toad Duttaphrynus scaber (Schneider) (Amphibia: Anura: Bufonidae) up to the northern most limit of Western Ghats, with its advertisement call analysis. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(11): 4579–4585;

Raheem, D.C., H. Taylor, J. Ablett, R.C. Preece, N.A. Aravind & F. Naggs (2014). A systematic revision of the land snails of the Western Ghats of India. Tropical Natural History Supplement 4(1–13): 1–285.

Sloan, S., C.N. Jenkins, L.N Joppa, D.L.A. Gaveau & W.F. Laurance (2014). Remaining natural vegetation in the global biodiversity hotspots. Biological Conservation 177: 12–24;