Mollusc Mysteries


Dear Avril,

I found this shell in a soil sample from the Sudanese part of the Libyan Desert. It is most likely of mid-Holocene age. I checked several books and contacted several experts, but nobody could help me. The shell measures 3 mm. In my opinion it is a land snail. The best match I was able to find is Subulina isseli, Jickeli 1874. But Jickeli himself isn't sure about the assignation of this snail to the genus Subulina.

Now I hope that the snail experts out there can help me with my mystery snail. Any help is highly appreciated.

Thank you very much in advance. Best wishes,

Nadja Pöllath
Institut für Paläoanatomie und Geschichte der Tiermedizin
Kaulbachstr. 37

80539 München


Send Ideas or positive identifications to: Nadja





  • There's a micro from Micronesia posted at ... David

  • Is this not the same shell? The following answers to the above posting on the Forum "Let's Talk Seashells" ( ) so I am treating as such and llisting the responses that came through on Conch-L
    ( ) ... Avril Bourquin

  • looks similar to a Rissoellidae. Drawings in Hawaiian Marine Shells, Kay. Definately not a Triphoridae IMH... Sid

  • This fits nicely into the genus Lirobarleeia Ponder, 1983*, family Barleeidae; Lirobarleeia, however, was originally restricted by Ponder (op. cit.) to the eastern Pacific and Caribbean. Any other opinions? ...
    Ponder, W. F. 1983. Review of the genera of the Barleeidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Rissoacea). Records of the Australian Museum 35: 231-281. ... José

  • Barleeia seems like a good guess to me. I don't have access to the Ponder article. Is the exclusive spiral sculpture characteristic of Lirobarleeia? ... David

  • Although I not a specialist in this group, I remember that, in the Barleeidae, both Lirobarleeia and Caelatura may have species with spiral sculpture only. Ponder's paper is not a guide of barleeid species; it is a treatment at the genus level only. It does not acknowledge, however, the presence of Lirobarleeia or Caelatura in the Indo-West Pacific; you may be into something new, but I do not know enough about barleiids from that part of the world to be able to help! ...José

  • I doubt that it is a barleeid - it may well be a rissoid (Lucidestea) - the protoconch details are not really visible in the illustration and they are critical....Winston

Return to: