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Thank you for your revised manuscript. I am satisfied with your response to the referee comments, and am now happy to move this forward into production.
Your manuscript has been read by two reviewers who recommend some – mostly minor – additions and modifications. I agree with their assessments. Please provide a more detailed comparison and discussion of morphological characters (be more specific than merely stating that the protoconch is “slightly different” or that the shells are “stouter”). Add a more extensive discussion why this could not be a member of Kuscheliana (and perhaps, as suggested by one of the reviewers, compare it also to Drymaeus). Consider adding a comparative table of characters if that would help with making the case. Add an illustration of the columellar fold if that is indeed an important distinguishing character. Also, I suggest making it clearer up front (already in the Abstract) that this study is based on empty shells alone. When I started reading the manuscript, I was wondering about molecular approaches -- until I learned (in the Material & Methods section) that this would not be possible.
I noticed a few oddities in the text (such as “knowledge on its diversity”) and the reviewers pointed out a few others. Please have the manuscript read by a native English speaker. Unfortunately, PeerJ cannot offer copyediting services.
The manuscript contains the description of a new species of land snails from northern Chile.
Use of English language is sufficient; I suggested some corrections where considered useful or necessary.
Please refrain from using terms, such as "unusual" or "conspicuous" lightly, unless the species is indeed unusual. I don't see what makes the present species 'unusual'. If it is, please explain.
Relevant literature is cited.
The methods used are basic but appropriate; described with sufficient detail.
In your taxonomic part, under genus please provide a generic diagnosis, especially with regard to how differentiate Scutalus from Kuschelenia. You need to provide sufficient evidence for placement in the former and not the latter given the large disjunction in the distribution of Scutalus that your work proposes.
At present you only allude to the fact that Scutalus species are found at low elevations, while Kuschelenia species are found at high elevations. That makes me wonder, why cant the new species just be a lowland form of Kuschelenia?
The novelt of the species seems plausible given the evidence put forward.
However, the comparison with already known species of this genus could have been a little more transparent and 'objective'. Instead of saying 'all other species of the genus are stouter and cannot be mistaken with the new species'.
Its nice that you are confident, but it would be more scientific if you quantify the differences or at least document them instead of leaving the reader in a situation of "trust me, I know it". One could have used measurements to qualify how much stouter they are or photographs to document the differences, etc. at least literature references to descriptions of other species.
May I comment that one needs to be careful with using shell characters in species that inhabit extreme habitats. There are ample of examples from other land snails that under extreme conditions shell characters may vary even within a species, particularly shell shape and size, as they are under strong local selection. A good example is the study of Rhagada species from Rosemary Island (Australia), where extreme shell forms are likely expressed by the same species along a very steep ecological gradient on very narrow geographical scales. Hence, just that a snail differs in shell shape or size is a very poor indicator for its distinctiveness of already names species. I am only convinced that this is likely a new species because it appears to be very isolated from its congeners.
Avoid arm waiving. Be concise and use data instead of personal experience to underpin the results of your work.
Please refer to the annotations in the text for further comments. I wonder whether you should name the new species 'changos' (for the people), not just 'chango' (for one person?)
Some corrections in English grammar and style are needed. Please see attached PDF.
Coordinates for the type locality are highly inaccurate. More than 1300 meters error. Correct coordinates are: 24° 55.74'S; 70° 30.05'W.
Would it be possible to compare proposed new species with Drymaeus in this publication?
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