By: Chandler Olson
The East Coast Identification Guides have been updated to include voucher information for figured specimens. Including the voucher information for shells imaged in these guides is important because it associates them with a physical shell housed in a museum collection. This includes the information about that shell like the collecting, locality, and identification information. It is also important because someone can go and physically look at these shells and confirm the identification used in these guides.
The voucher information can be found just below each shell image. It is formatted first with an abbreviation referring to a specific collection and then the catalog number of the specimen in that collection. Most shells currently figured in this guide are from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, abbreviated as ANSP (it is also known as the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University). Future expansions to the guide may include specimens from the Alabama Museum of Natural History (ALMNH) and the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH). A few figured shells are also from my personal collection, abbreviated at CJO. I hope to eventually deposit these shells into a museum collection or replace their images with museum vouchered specimens.
Alongside vouchered specimen information are notes if the figured shells are type specimens. Type specimens are animals used to describe a new species. These specimens effectively become the definition of that species and are very important in taxonomy. The main categories of of type specimens are described below:
One specimen used to represent the entire species
Multiple specimens used to represent the species.
A specimen selected from a group of syntypes to be the single specimen representing a species (becomes like a holotype)
One or many specimens used as alternative representatives of a species alongside a holotype
A specimen designated as the new holotype of a species. This is often done if the holotype is lost or destroyed
Some of the type specimens figured in the East Coast Identification Guides include: