The rare and most important contribution to Central American malacology

Martens, [K.] E. von

Biologia Centrali-Americana. Land and freshwater Mollusca.

Published 1890-1901
Item ID 75323

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London, Taylor and Francis, 1890-1901. 4to (31.3 x 25.2 cm). xxviii, 706 pp.; 44 lithographed plates, of which plates 1-28 finely hand-coloured and partly heightened with gum arabic. Slightly later green buckram with gilt title on the spine.

A massive work, part of an enormous publication, comprising 63 volumes in all, edited by the British zoologists (principally ornithologists) Osbert Salvin and Frederick DuCane Godman, which is renowned for its thorough treatment with detailed descriptions and fine illustrations. All volumes - published between 1879 and 1915 - are much sought-after and uncommon to rare. The mollusc part, written by the German malacologist Karl Eduard von Martens (1831-1904) is one of least-seen sections. Plates 1-28 show land snails and are all beautifully coloured by hand. Plates 29-44 show freshwater clams, and a few Melampidae and Littorinidae (!), as well as (on Plate 44) various additional land shells, which are always uncoloured. Many species are new. Von Martens included a history of malacology for each of the included states, from Mexico to Panama, although Mexico is usually regarded as part of North America. Loosely inserted are two leaves with an overview of the dates of publication of the 38 parts issued between May 1890 and May 1901, "Based on the set of original wrappers to each part preserved in the Museum of Comparative Zoology". Last two introduction leaves spotted, first two plates ever so slightly toned, but otherwise fine; with all other text leaves and plates clean. Kabat and Boss, Karl Eduard von Martens (1831-1904): His Life and Work, p. 91. Nissen ZBI, 2702.

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