Molluscan ResearchISSN 1323-5818
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Molluscan Research 32(2): 61-120; published 31 May 2012
Copyright © The Malacological Society of Australasia & the Society for the Study of Molluscan Diversity

Tonnoidean gastropods of French Polynesia


1GNS Science, P O Box 30368, Lower Hutt, New Zealand 5040

2Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 55 rue Buffon, F-75231 Paris cedex 5, France

3Attaché au Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 55 rue Buffon, F-75231 Paris cedex 5, France

*Corresponding author–Email:



The tonnoidean gastropod fauna of French Polynesia (54 species) includes 26 species recorded from the Austral Islands (including 10 from Rapa), 33 species from the Marquesas Islands, 39 from the Society Islands, 32 from the Tuamotu Islands, and 3 from the Tarava Seamounts. Most species have planktotrophic larval development and are distributed from East Africa to eastern Polynesia, but many common western Pacific species are not present. With the possible exception of Semicassis salmonea n. sp. (Cassidae), described from the Marquesas, and Gyrineum pusillum (Ranellidae), restricted to the Austral (and Tuamotu?) Islands in southeastern-most Polynesia, no species is endemic to any individual island groups, but several species with broad overall ranges are known from only one archipelago within French Polynesia. Three species (Monoplex intermedius, Septa peasei, Ranellidae; Distorsio graceiellae, Personidae) are much more common in the Marquesas Islands than further westwards. Three species of Bursidae (Bursa lamarckii, Bursina nobilis, Tutufa tenuigranosa) are recorded only from the Marquesas Islands, whereas the only record of Bursina fijiensis is from the Austral Islands. The two very similar species Bursa asperrima and B. cruentata have a complex distribution; only B. cruentata is common west of Hawaii, and only B. asperrima occurs east of Hawaii, but only B. cruentata has been collected at the Marquesas Islands. Ranella venustula is a synonym of Bursa rhodostoma. Neotypes are designated for Buccinum ponderosum Gmelin, 1791, B. nodulosum Gmelin, 1791, Cassis caputequinum Röding, 1798, C. denticulata Röding, 1798, C. glabra Röding, 1798, C. hamata Röding, 1798, Phalium edentulum Link, 1807, P. quadratum Link, 1807, Buccinum biarmatum Dillwyn, 1817, B. pantherina Dillwyn, 1817, Cassis tenuilabris Menke, 1828, and Dolium rufum Blainville, 1829, and lectotypes are designated for Buccinum cornutum Linnaeus, 1758, Murex bufonius Gmelin, 1791 and Cassis torquata Reeve, 1848.

Key words: biogeography, Caenogastropoda, Gastropoda, distribution, new species, planktotrophic larvae, Semicassis, taxonomy

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