Natalina cafra natalensis, Herbert & Moussalli, 2010

Herbert, D. G. & Moussalli, A., 2010, Revision of the larger cannibal snails (Natalina s. l.) of southern Africa - Natalina s. s., Afrorhytida and Capitina (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Rhytididae), African Invertebrates 51 (1), pp. 1-1 : 42-47

publication ID 10.5733/afin.051.0101

persistent identifier

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scientific name

Natalina cafra natalensis

subsp. nov.

Natalina cafra natalensis View in CoL subsp. n.

Figs 3A–C View Fig , 6C View Fig , 9A View Fig , 10D View Fig , 12A, B View Fig , 13A, D View Fig , 14B View Fig , 15D, E View Fig , 16 View Fig , 27–29 View Fig View Fig View Fig

Helix caffra [sic]: Krauss 1848: 75 (in part).

Natalina caffra [sic]: Sturany 1898: 30 (in part); Connolly 1912: 90 (in part); Bruggen 1969: 57.

Natalina cafra: Connolly 1939: 104 View in CoL , pl. 3, fig. 7, text-fig. 8 (in part); Kilburn 1973: 10–11 (in part); Herbert 1991: 6–11 (in part); Herbert & Kilburn 2004: 220.

not Natalina cafra: Bruggen 2004: 46 View in CoL [= N. quekettiana View in CoL complex].

Etymology: Name derived from its geographical occurrence, the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Identification ( Fig. 27 View Fig ): For general description see Natalina c. cafra . Closely resembles the nominotypical subspecies, from which it cannot be reliably distinguished using shell characters alone. Shell proportions and level of periphery variable, but H:D ratios fall entirely with the range of those of N. c. cafra . Generally less globose than N. c. eumacta and particularly N. c. amathole .

Dimensions: Holotype diameter 59.4 mm, height 49.2 mm; largest specimen (NMSA A7041, ‘Natal’), diameter 75.0 mm, but few specimens exceeding 65 mm in diameter; H:D of adults 0.67–0.85 (N=27).

Living animal ( Figs 15D, E View Fig ): Head-foot pale fawn-brown to yellowish brown or orange-brown, occasionally grey; dorsal part of neck usually darker; neck region often with a paler longitudinal stripe running backward from base of each optic tentacle; pedal margin and mantle skirt usually yellowish, less often orange.

Radula ( Fig. 28 View Fig ): See Natalina c. cafra , no morphological differences evident; formula 1+5+(20–30) (N=8, two in BMNH); length in adult up to 58 mm (fide Connolly 1939), perhaps more in very large individuals), with 50–60 transverse rows of teeth. Connolly (1939) reported a newly hatched juvenile from Pietermaritzburg as having a formula 1+5+12 (slide in BMNH).

Distal genitalia ( Figs 12 View Fig , 13A, D View Fig ): As in N. c. cafra . In most specimens the epiphallus lacks a distinct bulla, but there is evidence of a slight swelling in some specimens. The longitudinal ridges lining the epiphallus lumen extend for almost its entire length.

Spermatophore ( Fig. 14B View Fig ): A fresh spermatophore was spontaneously produced by and isolated captive animal in September (NMSA W7136). In general form this closely resembled the spermatophores of N. c. amathole and N. c. eumacta ; anterior 2/3 with 6–8 primary longitudinal ridges; posterior third smooth but retaining three indistinct keels, two lateral and one dorsal; straightened length 18.3 mm. A small finger-like process was present at the base of the recurved tail region. This was stouter than that sometimes present on the N. c. eumacta spermatophore, but less well developed than that of N. beyrichi .

An allospermatophore ( Fig. 10D View Fig ) was found in a further specimen, collected in January (paratype, NMSA E7682/T2375). This was less strongly curved and had more well-developed longitudinal ridges, the strongest of which extended posteriorly, as three angular keels, almost to the tail tip; straightened length 16.3 mm. However, in this example a finger-like process was not evident on the tail region, suggesting that, as in N. c. eumacta , the presence of this structure is a variable feature.

Holotype ( Figs 27A–C View Fig ): SOUTH AFRICA: KZN: Ashburton , nr Pietermaritzburg (29.670°S: 30.453°E), 670 m, in thornveld garden, R. Miller, ii/1996 ( NMSA V3293 View Materials /T2365). GoogleMaps

Paratypes: SOUTH AFRICA: KZN: Same data as holotype ( NMSA W6615 View Materials /T2366, 1 specimen) GoogleMaps ; Karkloof , Shafton Estate, De Magtenberg Forest (29.31795°S: 30.19115°E), 1272 m, S. Miya, 13/xii/2006 ( NMSA W5144 View Materials /T2373, 1 specimen) GoogleMaps ; Karkloof (approx. 29.30°S: 30.23°E), A.J. Taynton, ex Burnup coll’n, pre 1930 (2204/T2368, 1 specimen) GoogleMaps ; Pietermaritzburg , 30 Payn St (29.610°S: 30.389°E), suburban garden, found dead in pond, D. Herbert, xii/2001 ( ELM D16035 View Materials (ex NMSA V9637 View Materials ), 1 specimen) GoogleMaps ; Pietermaritzburg , Scottsville (29.6230°S: 30.3967°E), in garden, D. Herbert, ii/1989 ( BMNH 20100124 [ex NMSA E7579 View Materials /T2369], 1 specimen) GoogleMaps ; Pietermaritzburg , Prestbury (29.615°S: 30.337°E), in garden, P. Croeser, 1995 ( NMSA V2515 / T2374, 1 specimen) GoogleMaps ; south of Tugela R. mouth (approx. 29.233°S: 31.492°E), dune forest, A.C. & W.H. van Bruggen, 03/i/1964 ( NMSA B0035 View Materials /T2367, 1 specimen) GoogleMaps ; Durban , Stella Bush (approx. 29.880°S: 30.988°E), H. Bell-Marley, 11/xi/1930 ( NMSA E7896 View Materials /T2376, 1 specimen) GoogleMaps ; Ngele Forest (30.533°S: 29.633°E), 1300 m, mist-belt Podocarpus forest, S. Bourquin, 1995 ( NMSA V2514 /T2371, 1 specimen) GoogleMaps ; Port Edward (approx. 31.055°S: 30.225°E), J. Stannard, i/1987 ( NMSA E7682 View Materials /T2375, 1 specimen) GoogleMaps ; Mtamvuna Gorge Nat. Res. , Loerie Trail (31.0600°S: 30.1717°E), riverine/scarp forest, in leaf-litter, D. Herbert, 27/xii/2002 ( NMSA W0308 View Materials /T2370, 1 specimen) GoogleMaps .

Additional material (all NMSA unless otherwise indicated): SOUTH AFRICA: KZN: Thukela valley and southern Zululand: Qudeni Forest (28.64882°S: 30.90391°E), mist-belt forest, A. Moussalli & D. Stuart-Fox, 21/v/2003 (W4833); Mfongosi (28.713°S: 30.805°E), W.E. Jones (3365); Nkandla Forest Res., Chibini area (28.7227°S: 31.1282°E), 1200 m, mist-belt forest, under logs and in leaf-litter, D. Herbert, M. Bursey & T. Nangammbi, 20/x/2003 (W1167); Eshowe (28.885°S: 31.468°E), 500 m, amongst garden debris, R. Miller, 01/ iv/1996 (V2903); ditto, Dlinza Forest (28.89300°S: 31.44833°E), scarp forest, in leaf-litter, D. Herbert, 24/x/ 1998 (V6663); ditto (28.8945°S: 31.4555°E), scarp forest, D. Eckard, 03/ii/2000 (V8087); ditto (28.90°S: 31.45°E), 520 m, scarp forest, under log, D. Eckard, 29/ix/1997 (V5298); Mtunzini, Umlalazi Nat. Res. (28.95170°S: 31.75083°E), dune forest, found dead in recent excavation, I.M. Porter, 16/v/1987, don. R.H. Taylor (E476); south of Tugela R. mouth (29.23000°S: 31.48804°E), 11 m, coastal forest, in leaf-litter, A. Moussalli & D. Stuart-Fox, 11/xi/2006 (W4699). KZN Midlands: Karkloof Nat. Res. (29.301°S: 30.230°E), 1300 m, mist-belt Podocarpus forest, R. Kilburn, D. Herbert & L. Davis, 27/ii/1995 (V1948, V2021); Karkloof, Mbona Private Nat. Res., Holbeck (29.30087°S: 30.35948°E), found dead in burnt grassland, died eating Cochlitoma granulata, D. Herbert & L. Davis , 01/vii/2006 (W5117); ditto (29.30087°S: 30.35948°E), in burnt grassland, D. Herbert, viii/2004 (W2276); ditto (29.30339°S: 30.36525°E), mist-belt Podocarpus forest, in leaf-litter, D. Herbert, 24/x/2004 (W2405); ditto, lower forest (29.30406°S: 30.36077°E), mist-belt Podocarpus forest, D. Herbert, L. Davis, A. Moussalli & D. Stuart-Fox, 23/v/2005 (W3152); Karkloof, Rockwood farm (29.3083°S: 30.2250°E), O. Bourquin, 02/viii/1981 (B5288); ditto, Leopard’s Bush (29.315°S:30.250°], ca 1350m, mist-belt Podocarpus forest,in leaf-litter, D. Herbert, M.Seddon & P.Tattersfield, 09/xii/1998 (V8415); ditto (29.317°S: 30.258°E), mist-belt Podocarpus forest, in leaf-litter,inside dead Cochlitoma shell, D. Herbert, 09/i/1997 (V5322); ditto, Shafton Estate, De Magtenberg Forest (29.31795°S: 30.19115°E), 1272 m, S. Miya, 13/xii/2006 (W5145); Curry’s Post (29.362°S: 30.142°E) (A7045); Albert Falls (29.430°S:30.428), (2205); Hilton (29.555°S: 30.297°E), (A7048); Pietermaritzburg, Ferncliffe Nat. Res. (29.565°S: 30.345°E), mist-belt Podocarpus forest,A. Moussalli, D. Stuart-Fox, D. Herbert & L. Davis, 1/iv/2005 (W4828); ditto, Town Bush Valley (29.56648°S: 30.33917°E), suburban garden, A. Moussalli & D. Stuart-Fox, 24/ii/2006 (W4832); ditto, below World’s View (29.580°S: 30.333°E), grassy hillside with scattered trees, in litter beneath Erythrina latissima, D. Herbert & L. Davis , 13/xi/2005, (W3658); ditto (29.615°S: 30.337°E), garden (with new laid eggs), 28/ii/1989 (W5049); ditto,Alexandra Road (29.617°S: 30.383°E), W.G. Rump, v/1932 (1392); ditto, 17 Oribi Rd (29.628°S: 30.383°E), suburban garden, D. Herbert, xii/1984 (V6368); ditto, Blackburrow’s Ridge, newly hatched, C.F.W. Hime, 05/ix/1926 (3724); Pietermaritzburg area, Mkondeni (29.6512°S: 30.4810°E), 727m, bushland, M. Hamer, 29/x/2007 (W5853); ditto, Mkondeni (29.65180°S: 30.43847°E), 715 m, bushland, M. Hamer, 29/10/2007 (W5847); ditto, Bisley Valley Nat. Res. (29.65767°S: 30.39159°E), open woodland, under rotting log, G. Redman, 01/iii/2003 (W0549); ditto, Ashburton, Kingthorpe farm (29.67915°S: 30.49849°E), 750–800 m, savannah grassland, M. Hamer et al., 12/xi/2008; Boston area, on Impendle road (29.67150°S: 29.95662°E), 1540 m, natural grassland, C. Grant, 20/xi/2006 (W4877); Thornville (29.733°S: 30.383°E) (A7049); Baynesfield, nr Maybole farm (29.750°: 30.267°E), mist-belt Podocarpus forest, O. Bourquin, xi/1964 (V6544); Bulwer area, 3 km to north (29.78160°S: 29.77577°E), highly disturbed montane Podocarpus forest beside stream, crawling at night, A. Moussalli, 06/xii/2003 (W1417); Bulwer (29.877°S: 29.775°E), Dr. E. Warren (V4253); Nkawini Mt, Riverbank farm (29.88601°S: 30.08859°E), 1030 m, Protea savannah burnt during winter, many forbs, half-buried in soil under Protea, A. Armstrong et al. , 8/x/2008 (W6593). Central KZN coast and hinterland: Hawaan Forest (29.7050°S: 31.0917°E), coastal lowland forest, in leaf-litter, D.Herbert & L. Davis, 04/xii/1995 (V2117); Hawaan Forest(29.71 17°S: 31.0883°E), 60 m, coastal lowland forest, in leaf-litter,D.Herbert, M. Seddon & P.Tattersfield, 12/x/1998 (V8106);Drummond (29.748°S: 30.700°E), W.G. Rump, 19/xii/1932 (B0037); Gillitts (29.783°S: 30.800°E), R.S. Benton, 01/x/1963 (B0036); Durban, Burman Bush (29.817°S: 31.017°E), coastal lowland forest, O. Bourquin, 25/x/1962 (3945, B0034); Pinetown (29.820°S: 30.892°E), L. Trotter (2206); Durban, 49 Waller Crescent, Roseglen (29.82445°S: 31.00190°E), suburban garden, C. Uys, 6/iii/2006 (W5025); Durban, Pigeon Valley Nat. Res. (29.86403°S: 30.98506°E), coastal forest, in leaf-litter, A. Moussalli & D. Stuart-Fox, 18/v/2005 (W4362); Durban, Pigeon Valley Park (29.880°S: 30.967°E), 90 m, coastal lowland forest, in leaf-litter, Herbert, Kilburn & Davis, 31/iii/ 1995 (V2363);Durban, Stella Bush (29.880°S: 30.988°E), H. Bell-Marley, 11/xi/1930 (B0038,W1385);Durban, Stellawood, F.G. Cawston (BMNH; Durban, Bellair (29.892°S: 30.953°E), indigenousbush, N. Gardiner (2141); Durban Bluff (29.895°S: 31.047°E), Falcon coll’n (A9124); Umbogintwini (30.0167°S: 30.9170°E), Marley, 03/v/1919 (E7899); Port Natal [= Durban] (BMNH, G.C. Cato;, Sir W. Jardine Bt). Drakensberg: Cathedral Peak area, Fern Forest (Oqalweni Forest) (28.94329°S: 29.18580°E), montane Podocarpus forest, in leaf-litter, D. Herbert (Earthwatch), 19/iii/2006 (W5483); Cathedral Peak area (28.945°S: 29.205°E), 1900 m, below fire look-out tower, at edge of in open grassland, O. Bourquin, 14/i/1977 (V7109); Giant’s Castle, Bannerman’s Pass (29.2533°S: 29.4200°E), 2350 m, alpine grassland, D.T. Rowe- Rowe, 26/ii/1976 (A7052); Cobham, Sani Pass (29.60800°S: 29.32417°E), 2040 m, shrubland, D. Alletson, 25/iv/1996 (V3285). Southern KZN: Franklin area, Hebron farm (30.40327°S: 29.56253°E), 1650 m, garden, J. Scott, vii/2008; Oribi Gorge Nat. Res., Hoopoe Falls trail (30.70765°S: 30.26992°E), scarp forest, in leaf-litter, D. Herbert, 06/x/2001 (V9434); Port Shepstone (30.742°S: 30.453°E) (A7043);Mar gate (30.863°S: 30.367°E), W.G. Rump, 1929 (B0090); Mtamvuna Gorge Nat. Res., western heights (31.000°S: 30.167°E), in wetland area, R. Markham , 19/viii/1997 (V5271).

Rejected records: A record of Natalina cafra from Mbabane, Swaziland (Bruggen 2004) was based on a specimen belonging to the N. quekettiana complex (see below, Fig. 35A View Fig ). Similarly, Connolly’s record of the species from ‘between Lydenburg and Delagoa’ (Connolly 1939) probably refers either to the N. quekettiana complex or to N. wesseliana , but no material from this region is present in either NMSA or BMNH.

Distribution ( Fig. 29 View Fig ): Endemic to KwaZulu-Natal, but widely distributed in central and southern regions, from the Eshowe–Qudeni area south to the border between KwaZulu-Natal and E. Cape (Mtamvuna R.); altitudinal range extensive, from the coast to 2350 m in the central Drakensberg.

Habitat: Occurs in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from indigenous forest (coastal to montane) to thornveld, valley bushveld and mist-belt and subalpine grassland; has also adapted well to suburban gardens; in leaf-litter and under logs or beneath shrubs and grass clumps, essentially in almost any sheltering microhabitat. Relatively common, particularly in the KZN Midlands, but population densities are generally low.

Notes: We have been unable to identify any morphological characters, either conchological or anatomical, which serve to distinguish this subspecies from the nominotypical one. It is clear, however, that specimens of N. cafra from KwaZulu-Natal constitute a monophyletic lineage which is genetically distinct from those occurring in E. Cape ( Moussalli et al. 2009). In addition, there is a clear geographical gap in the north-eastern E. Cape separating the KwaZulu-Natal N. cafra populations from those in the E. Cape. At the coast this gap is filled by N. beyrichi , but evidently remains vacant at inland localities.

It is difficult to discern any clear geography-related pattern in the variability in shell proportions of N. c. natalensis , but specimens from Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal north coast tend to be less elevated (H:D<0.76). Juveniles may be confused with the smaller Afromontane Natalina species, but the latter have a distinctly smaller protoconch (diameter 4.5–6.0 mm compared to 7.0–8.0 mm).

Conservation: Like the nominotypical subspecies, N. c. natalensis is widespread and common, and of catholic habitat requirements. Its distribution is not conspicuously fragmented (acknowledging sampling gaps) and it is evidently able to adapt to some extent to suburban habitats and thus to survive as a synanthrope. At present there is no evidence to suggest that the subspecies is threatened.


KwaZulu-Natal Museum


East London Museum














Natalina cafra natalensis

Herbert, D. G. & Moussalli, A. 2010

Natalina cafra:

HERBERT, D. & KILBURN, D. 2004: 220
HERBERT, D. G. 1991: 6
KILBURN, R. N. 1973: 10

Natalina caffra

CONNOLLY, M. 1912: 90
STURANY, R. 1898: 30

Helix caffra

KRAUSS, F. 1848: 75
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