Lautoconus Monterosato, 1923,

Harzhauser, Mathias & Landau, Bernard, 2016, A revision of the Neogene Conidae and Conorbidae (Gastropoda) of the Paratethys Sea, Zootaxa 4210 (1), pp. 1-178: 74

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Lautoconus Monterosato, 1923


Genus Lautoconus Monterosato, 1923 

Type species (by original designation): Conus mediterraneus Hwass in Bruguière, 1792  . Recent, Mediterranean Sea.

Note. Tucker & Tenorio (2009) gave few shell features by which to distinguish members of the genus Lautoconus Monterosato, 1923  . The shells are turgid in shape with convex sides. The protoconch is paucispiral. The whorl tops are ornamented with cords that reach the middle spire whorls and often persist. The subsutural flexure is shallow to moderate in depth. Puillandre et al. (2014a, b) synonymized Varioconus da Motta, 1991  with Lautoconus Monterosato, 1923  based on molecular data. According to Tucker & Tenorio (2009) the genus Varioconus da Motta, 1991  is characterised by shells with smooth spire whorls, a rounded, indistinct shoulder, a shallow subsutural sinus and a paucispiral protoconch. For their molecular phylogeny Puillandre et al. (2014a, b) analysed numerous species, traditionally placed in Lautoconus  but only two species, which are listed as Varioconus  by Tucker & Tenorio (2009) ( Conus xicoi Röckel, 1987  and C. franciscoi Rolán & Röckel, 2000  ). Unfortunately, Conus variegatus Kiener, 1845  , the type species of Varioconus  , is missing from their analysis. Therefore, the synonymization remains debateable.

The main difference in shell characters listed by Tucker & Tenorio (2009) is the presence of cords on Lautoconus  and their absence in Varioconus  . The characteristic pyriform outline of most species placed in Varioconus  is not a distinguishing feature but may also be developed by Lautoconus  species such as Lautoconus mercator (Linnaeus, 1758)  . The radula morphologies as described by Tucker & Tenorio (2009) do not require a separation and their West African geographic distribution is identical. Consequently, we follow Puillandre et al. (2014a, b) and treat Varioconus  as subjective junior synonym of Lautoconus  .

The genus Lautoconus  is represented in the middle Miocene Paratethys Sea by several species, which comprise moderately small to moderately large and medium-wide to wide shells with low to medium high spires; spiral cords on the sutural ramp may be present or replaced by faint spiral threads. The subsutural flexures are variable in depth, ranging from very shallow to deep, are usually moderately curved and moderately asymmetrical.

To our knowledge, none of the extant Lautoconus  (and Varioconus  ) species has a tuberculate early spire or develops nodes. Therefore, we exclude tuberculate species from Lautoconus  .