Molluscan ResearchISSN 1323-5818
 An international journal of the Malacological Society of Australasia and 
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Molluscan Research 32(3): 145-153; published 28 Sept. 2012
Copyright © The Malacological Society of Australasia & the Society for the Study of Molluscan Diversity

A new species of Crepipatella (Gastropoda: Calyptraeidae) from northern Chile


1Departamento de Ciencias Ecológicas and Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad (IEB), Universidad de Chile. Casilla 653, Santiago, Chile. E-mail: (corresponding author)

2 Departamento de Biología Marina, Universidad Católica del Norte, Sede Coquimbo. Casilla 117, Coquimbo, Chile.


3 Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Recursos Naturales, Universidad de Valparaíso. Casilla 5080, Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Chile.


4 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado Postal 0843-03092, Balboa, Ancon, República de Panamá.



Crepipatella occulta n. sp. is described from the intertidal zone in northern Chile. This species is morphologically cryptic with two other Crepipatella species from Chile, Crepipatella dilatata (Lamarck, 1822) and Crepipatella peruviana (Lamarck, 1822) (a senior synonym of C. fecunda), with respect to adult shell morphology and anatomy. However, Crepipatella occulta is clearly distinguishable from both of them on the basis of embryonic development. It can be distinguished from Crepipatella peruviana, a planktotroph, and Crepipatella dilatata, a direct developer with uncleaved nurse eggs, because it has direct development with developing nurse embryos that are consumed before the juveniles hatch. Genetic data from DNA sequences also support the distinct status of this species, and show that the South African species C. capensis (Quoy & Gaimard, 1832–33) is more closely related to C. dilatata and C. peruviana than is C. occulta. In addition Crepipatella occulta displays diagnostic alleles in 14 allozyme loci when compared with the other two co-occuring Chilean species in northern Chile. Morphologically, Crepipatella occulta n. sp. does not attain the large size often observed in C. peruviana, and it typically has a shiny dark chestnut or chocolate shell interior.

Key words: cryptic species, Crepipatella dilatata, Crepipatella fecunda, Caenogastropoda

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