New Species of Rare Land Snail Officially Described from Belize!
Found in the southern foothills of the Maya Mountains, the Mayan drum, Eucalodium belizensis was formally given scientific description by Dan Dourson, BFREE biologist and Fred Thompson, Florida Museum of Natural History in the journal, The Nautilus, Volume 127 in late 2013.
The new species was first discovered by Valentino Tzub, a Kek’chi Mayan from the village of San Jose´ who was trained as a malacological field as-sistant by Dan Dourson. Valentino has been collecting and cataloguing land snails near his village of San Jose for the past 5 years and has found other species of land snails that are likely new to science; these also waiting scientific description. Mr. Tzub works as a guide and research assistant for other scientific expeditions and research projects in Belize.
The subgenus Eucalodium is known from foothills in a rather small area of Belize, Guatemala, and part of Mexico (northern Chiapas and Tabasco.) Drums are seldom encountered, and they are not common where they are found; several species known only from the type locality as is the case for the Maya drum. This is the first species of the genus and the subgenus reported from Belize. The Mayan drum was found under leaf litter near Cretaceous limestone outcrops.
The landform surrounding the type locality includes hilly karst topography, containing sinkholes and multiple cave formations. The type locality is entirely forested with a tropical wet broadleaf evergreen forest with cohune palms and occasional emergent Ceiba trees and an understory layer dominated with shrubs, pteridophytes, and Araceae (Brewer pers. comm.). Farming activity from San Jose is encroaching into the near-by forest and threatens the future of this extremely rare and endangered gastropod. Above are the only images ever taken of a live Mayan drum.