448 pages, 90 plates with 1600 colour & 103 b/w photos
This volume examines 388 species, 7 of which are new to science. The book includes an extensive introduction dealing with the history of fossil research on Rhodes Island in the South Aegean region, a map of the studies localities, descriptions of species, together with their distribution and observations. The summary of the distribution of species shows which of them are reported for the first time from Rhodes Islands. A bibliography of 435 titles is included.
With the climatic change at the end of the Pliocene and the cooling of the Mediterranean Sea, many species found it difficult to stay in their original habitats and adapt themselves to the new climate. This situation offered three different possibilities: adaptation, extinction, or migration. Some of the species which migrated to the Eastern Mediterranean quickly became extinct the, others succeeded in surviving for a shorter or longer period of time. Others still live today – some of them without transformation, others with some small mutations, and others by giving birth to new species. One can include in the number of species which did not survive, or survive for only a short period, the six species that are found exclusively in the Gelasian of Rhodes. The most interesting shell of this group is Sassia apenninica (Sasso, 1827), present in the Miocene of Austria, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Hungary, and in the Pliocene of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, and Spain.
Fifty species though to have become extinct in the Pliocene period are reported from the Calabrian of Rhodes, from one or more localities with a different number of specimens. Some of them have experienced a long odyssey: Hipponix sulcatus (Borson, 1822), found in Rhodes, is reported from the Miocene of Austria, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Poland, and Hungary by Sacco, 1896, 45 of which are from the Pliocene in the vicinity of Busaana in Liguria (Italy). Another interesting species is Sveltia varicosa (Brocchi, 1814), present in two outcrops in Rhodes. In the Miocene period it is reported from Austria, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Turkey; in the Pliocene period from Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, and Tunisia. Mitra ulivi Chirli, 2002 and Plesiothyreus pliocenicus (Chirli, 2004), were only known from the Pliocene of Tuscany (Italy). Among the species which suddenly transformed themselves is the Pliocene Natica raropunctata Sasso, 1827; its descendant is Natica stercusmuscarum (Gmelin, 1791), still present in the Mediterranean today, which the authors report from a Calabrian outcrop in Rhodes where it was found together with its operculum.
Thirty species, present in the Mediterranean today, are reported from the Pleistocene for the first time. The greater number of them originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, from where they spread throughout the Mediterranean Basin.
Seven new species are described. Paying homage to the country where they were found, they are dedicated to the ancient Greek muses: Alvania calliope to the muse of epic poetry, Alvania erato to the muse of the love poetry, Haedropleura polymnia to the muse of sacred poetry, Mangelia melpomene to the muse of tragedy, Mangelia thalia to the muse of comedy, Clathromangelia terpsichore to the muse of dance, and Mitrolumna euterpe to the muse of music.
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