Melanopsis maroccana Morelet, 1853

Neubauer, Thomas A., 2016, A nomenclator of extant and fossil taxa of the Melanopsidae (Gastropoda, Cerithioidea), ZooKeys 602, pp. 1-358: 168-169

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scientific name

Melanopsis maroccana Morelet, 1853


Taxon classification Animalia Sorbeoconcha Melanopsidae

Melanopsis maroccana Morelet, 1853 

Original source.

Morelet 1853: 297.

Type locality.

"Prov. Oranensem" [province of Oran; no locality indicated], Morocco.


The name was first mentioned by Chemnitz (1795) as "Buccina Maroccana". However, according to Opinion 184 (ICZN 1944), species names introduced in volumes 1-11 of Martini and Chemnitz’ "Neues Systematischer Conchylien Cabinet" (1769-1795) have no status in nomenclature and the name is therefore not available from this work. The name was again listed by Férussac (1823) in synonymy of two different species, i.e., Melanopsis dufourii  Férussac, 1822 (referring to Chemnitz 1795: pl. 210, figs 2078-2081) and Melanopsis costellata  (referring to Chemnitz 1795: pl. 210, figs 2082-2083). A mention in synonymy, however, does not make the name available (see Note 2).

The first to adopt Melanopsis maroccana  as a valid name was Morelet (1853). (Note that in the same year Bourguignat mentioned the name in his "Catalogue raisonné des mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles [...]", which, according to the preface was published not before 1 December 1853, while Morelet’s paper was issued on 1 August 1853.) Morelet (as well as Bourguignat) referred to Chemnitz’ work - but only to figs 2080-2081 - and listed Melanopsis dufourei  [sic] as a synonym. Morelet did not provide a description or illustrations on his own; the brief Latin description he gave below the synonymy list refers to the unnamed variety β. The reference to the illustrations in Chemnitz nonetheless suffices as indication of a new taxon; the correct name is therefore Melanopsis maroccana  Morelet, 1853. Although Morelet (1853) considered the older Melanopsis dufourii  as a junior synonym of Melanopsis maroccana  , the two names are no objective synonyms because Morelet referred to more specimens than just the holotype of Melanopsis dufourii  (fig. 16). Note, moreover, that Morelet’s synonymization is likely based on a wrong concept of Melanopsis dufourii  , which is a fossil species described from the Miocene of France.

The name " marocana  " as mentioned in Pallary (1920c: 145) is an incorrect subsequent spelling.