The purpose of An Illustrated Guide to the Land Snails of Nepal is to illustrate representative examples and to demonstrate the range of diversity of Nepalese land snails. With the aid of this laminated fold-out guide it should be possible to identify most Nepalese snail genera in the field, as well as to recognize some of the more distinctive species.
The rich diversity of land snails in the Indian Himalaya has been studied for the past 200 years. Until 1951, however, outsiders were rarely allowed into Nepal and, with few exceptions, the country did not benefit from the investigations carried out by pioneering 19th-century malacologists in the region. Other than from occasional and largely opportunistic collecting, Nepal's land-snail fauna has remained largely unknown to the present day. Addressing this problem has been one of the objectives in the Darwin Initiative "Project Developing Land Snail Expertise in South and Southeast Asia". The first stage in the project has been to carry out surveys, to collect samples and establish what species are present and where they occur. Adequate comparison with type and other reference specimens will necessitate many years work. It is clear that Nepal possesses a high level of land-snail diversity and significant endemism but determining if species have already been described from outside of Nepal is a slow, time-consuming process and much remains to be done. More than 100 species have been recorded from Nepal to date, mostly in the last few decades. This total consists largely of scientifically described species that occur elsewhere, but have only recently been reported from Nepal, and species new to science and endemic to Nepal. The exploration of the Nepalese land-snail fauna is still in its early days: the identity of some species needs to be confirmed and ongoing and future surveys are likely to greatly increase the total number.
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