Heterobranchia - Good Pictures Online

Heterobranchia is a taxonomic group with a few issues. The biggest one is that research in this group was flawed by a bit of a scientific glaucoma. A large group is terrestrial and commercially quite important. As a consequence, marine, freshwater and terrestrial heterobranchs historically followed different academic traditions and were treated in exclusion of each other, even fighting against each other about financial resources. It is a scandal that Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef state, despite generous funding, actually funnelled most effort into land snail research. Queensland Museum (and some paid taxonomists) actively blocked the scientific description of other heterobranchs. A second issue that affects research is the existence or absence of a calcerous shell. Shelled molluscs traditionally gained more attention because they have references in collected strato-archaeologic material. Molecular research could often prove morphological hypothesis in shelled molluscs inadequate and keeps delivering surprises and reclassifications. It was an well-known, long ignored secret that Opisthobranchia, my main interest, was a polyphyletic group. In February 2018, www.marinespecies.org seems to have initiated long necessary changes. What I called branchs, namely Heterobranchs, Opisthobranchs, Nudibranchs now needs to be seen in a wider context. Opisthobranchia and Pulmonata are no more. Freshwater and marine species have moved closer too, just unfortunately not on WoRMS (their new classification is also often insufficiently linked and workeable). Hopefully, it is some fun to explore and adapt to the changes.                              

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