Zoological Illustrations/VolI-Pl4

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Zoological Illustrations Volume I Plate 4.jpg

BULIMUS melastomus.

Blackmouthed Bulimus.

Generic Character.

Testa ovalis, vel oblongo-ovalis. Spira elevata. Os integrum, sub-ovale. Columella lævis, simplex. Labium externum crassum, reflexum. Internum ultra medium cavo-inflexum. Operculum nullum.
Shell oval or oblong-oval. Spire elevated. Mouth entire, sub-oval. Column smooth, simple. Exterior lip thick, reflected. Interior lip beyond the middle inflected, and hollowed beneath. Operculum none.

Specific Character.

B. testâ oblongo-ovatâ, albâ, cinereo marmoratâ, spiræ anfractibus longitudinaliter plicatis, labio exteriore complanato; aperturâ nigrâ.
Shell oblong-ovate, white, marbled with cinereous. Spiral whorls longitudinally plaited. Outer lip flattened; aperture black.

The genus Bulimus was long ago formed by Scopoli out of the heterogeneous mixture of shells thrown together in the Linnæan genus Helix[3], &c.: it comprehends some of the larger and most beautiful of the exotic land shells, among which the present species will stand conspicuous both in beauty of colouring and excessive rarity. While travelling among the forests of Brazil, in the province of Bahia, I found the shell here figured one morning on the leaves of a Solanum. I not only searched myself, but promised as a reward to any of my Indians who would bring me another, a two-bladed Birmingham knife!—the greatest temptation they could have!—but in vain; for I never saw another before or since.

There are many peculiar characters presented in this species independent of its colour: the spiral whorls are strongly plaited longitudinally about half their length, and marked very slightly (but sufficiently distinct) with several oblique indented striæ; the principal whorl has a row of indented and unequal sulcations near the suture, and a slight appearance of elevation along the white transverse band; the outer lip is thick, broad, and flattened beneath; but the margin is reflected back, and forms a prominent rim on the upper surface. The shell, when viewed closely, appears rough with minute scale-like elevations, very much resembling shagreen.