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Unravelling the double Helix escherichi, with the description of Helix ankae sp. nov. and a discussion of Maltzanella and the subgenera of Helix (Gastropoda: Helicidae)

Publication at Faculty of Science |


Helix escherichi O. Boettger, 1898 from western Anatolia is a poorly known species that was placed in the Anatolian Helix (Helix) clade in previous phylogenetic analyses.

We sequenced additional individuals, but these were found to belong to Maltzanella P. Hesse, 1917, the sister genus of Helix.

Examination of the type materials and the largest set of shells to date, as well as anatomical studies, revealed that 2 different species have been confused under the name H. escherichi in the past. While the true H. escherichi is actually a member of Maltzanella, the previously sequenced specimens represent a hitherto undescribed species, here named Helix (Helix) ankae sp. nov.

We discuss the morphological differences and phylogenetic relationships between Maltzanella, Helix (Pelasga), Helix (Helix) and propose a new subgenus, Aegaeohelix subgen. nov. for Helix godetiana Kobelt, 1878.