Gulella maraisi, Cole & Herbert, 2022

Cole, Mary L. & Herbert, David G., 2022, Eight new species of Gulella Pfeiffer, 1856 from the south-east coast of South Africa (Gastropoda: Streptaxidae), European Journal of Taxonomy 813, pp. 1-32 : 25-28

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Gulella maraisi

sp. nov.

Gulella maraisi sp. nov.

Figs 10 View Fig , 11A–D View Fig


Shell small, cylindrical; sculptured by axial ribs that extend to mid-whorl on spire whorls and from suture to suture on last whorl; aperture little obstructed by teeth; dentition typically three-fold, including

a parietal lamella, a simple labral tooth and a quadrate columella lamella; sometimes with an additional small basal tooth just left of centre; umbilicus small, elongate-ovate.


Named for Dr Johan P. Marais, a very productive conchologist who collected much material for the KwaZulu-Natal Museum, including specimens of this species.

Material examined

Holotype SOUTH AFRICA – KwaZulu-Natal • Mtamvuna River mouth beach drift; 31.083°S, 30.197° E; Jun. 1996; leg. J. P. Marais; NMSA P1676/T4520 . GoogleMaps

Paratypes (listed south to north) SOUTH AFRICA – KwaZulu-Natal • 3specs.; Mtamvuna River mouth beach drift; 31.083°S, 30.197°E; Jun. 1996; J. P. Marais leg.; NMSA V3993/T4485 GoogleMaps 1 spec.; same collection data as for preceding; NHMUK 20210077 View Materials , prev. NMSA V3993 View Materials GoogleMaps 1 spec.; Port Shepstone, Simuma area, Hlokohloko Valley , degraded riverine forest ; 30.65898°S, 30.34292° E, ca 130 m a.s.l.; 6 May 2008; D. Herbert and L. Davis leg.; NMSA W6277/T4486 GoogleMaps 1 spec.; Port Shepstone, Simuma area, Hlokohloko Valley , stn 11- 001, riverine forest ; 30.66310°S, 30.33685° E, ca 150–200 m a.s.l.; 5 Mar. 2011; D. Herbert and L. Davis leg.; NMSA W7831/T4487 GoogleMaps 1 spec.; Port Shepstone area, Marble Delta, South side of Simuma Hill, woodland/forest , in leaf-litter, stn S1; 30.6683°S, 30.3470° E; 237 m a.s.l.; Feb. 2012; J. Harvey leg.; NMSA W8786/T4483 GoogleMaps .

Other material

SOUTH AFRICA – KwaZulu-Natal • 2specs.; Mtamvuna River mouth beach drift; 31.083°S, 30.197°E; Jun. 1996; J. P. Marais leg.; NMSA P1613 View Materials prev. NMSA V3993 View Materials GoogleMaps . Eastern Cape • 1 spec.; Mkambati Nature Reserve, East bank of Mkambati River, between Mkambati and Strandloper waterfalls; 31.2738° S, 30.0236° E; 15 Feb. 2011; M. Cole leg.; ELMD 18754 GoogleMaps 1 spec.; same locality as for preceding; 17 Mar. 2019; M. Cole leg.; ELMD 18475 GoogleMaps 4 specs.; Mkambati Nature Reserve, gorge of Daza River , East side ; 31.3000° S, 29.9879°E; 16 Feb. 2011; M. Cole leg.; ELMD 18756 GoogleMaps .


SHELL ( Fig. 11 View Fig ). Shell small, cylindrical, length 3.5–4.2 mm, width 1.5–1.7 mm, L:W 2.3–2.6 (n = 11). Protoconch 1.1 mm in diameter, comprising approx. 2.5 whorls, smooth; junction between protoconch and teleoconch distinct. Teleoconch comprising approx. 5 whorls; whorls moderately convex; sculptured by subsutural axial riblets extending to mid-whorl on earlier whorls, but strong on last whorl and running from suture to suture ( Fig. 11A, B View Fig ); axial pleats prominent on base, running into umbilicus ( Fig. 11D View Fig ). Peristome thickened, interrupted in parietal region and with a hiatus behind parietal lamella ( Fig. 11C View Fig ). Aperture little obstructed by teeth; apertural dentition three- or four-fold ( Fig. 11C, E View Fig ): 1) an oblique parietal lamella which begins above insertion of labrum and curves and runs into aperture; 2) a simple in-running, ridge-like mid-labral tooth; 3) a small basal tooth just to left of centre near the lip edge in the Eastern Cape population ( Fig. 11E View Fig ); 4) a quadrate columella lamella. Labral tooth corresponds with a shallow pit behind outer lip ( Fig. 11B View Fig ). Umbilicus very small, elongate-ovate ( Fig. 11D View Fig ). Shell translucent, uniformly milky-white when fresh, reddish-pink dried tissue of animal visible internally.

Distribution ( Fig. 10 View Fig )

Recorded at isolated localities in southern KwaZulu-Natal and northeast Eastern Cape provinces, from the coast up to approx. 130 m above sea level.


KwaZulu-Natal Scarp Forest and Pondoland Scarp Forest ( Mucina et al. 2018a, 2018b); in leaf-litter and under logs.


Specimens collected at Mkambati Nature Reserve are slightly smaller, appear to have one less whorl and have a small basal tooth to the left of centre, absent in all the specimens collected in KwaZulu- Natal. In other respects specimens from both areas appear to be identical. The Eastern Cape population is considered here to be Gulella maraisi sp. nov., but due to the differences mentioned above, these specimens are not included in the type material.

Gulella maraisi sp. nov. superficially resembles G. pentheri , but is larger and has axial sculpture, while G. pentheri is narrower and smooth. The parietal lamella of G. maraisi sp. nov. extends to the edge of the labrum and curves strongly before running into the aperture, a feature not present in G. pentheri . In respect of its apertural dentition and the short axial riblets, G. maraisi sp. nov. resembles G. inhluzaniensis , but in the present species the columella lamella is much larger and the last whorl has much stronger axial ribs. Gulella maraisi sp. nov. also resembles G. abbotti sp. nov., but the latter is smaller, narrower and has a more substantial labral tooth as well as a basal tooth. Species in the Gulella infans group ( Herbert & Kilburn 2004) are larger, generally broader, have a less prominent columella lamella and weaker axial sculpture.


Gulella maraisi sp. nov. appears to be a very rare species with few records. It has been collected alive at only two localities approx. 75 km apart. One of these is under threat from mining since the lower Hlokohloko Valley is being sacrificed as a waste rock dump. It has not been found in Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve immediately to the west. The other locality is in a protected area, the Mkambati Nature Reserve. It has been collected in beach drift at the mouth of the Mtamvuna River, but as yet not in the Mtamvuna Gorge Nature Reserve upstream.


KwaZulu-Natal Museum