Cumberland LAnd Snails

Cumberland LAnd Snails

The Snail Project        Information Sheet 1

Very little is known about the endangered Cumberland Plain land SnailMeridolumcorneovirens (Pfeiffer, 1851). It is classified as an endangered species on Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act.
A profile of the Cumberland Plain land snail is available at:
Some questions that arose from a recent discussion about the snails were:
o    Bring the issue (endandgered and how?)
o    Population and where they live and how many
o    What is the snail features and characteristics and compare with garden snail
o    The below questions of markings – compare with other species

1.    How many populations are there?
2.    What is a snail’s home range or how far does or can a snail travel anyhow?

3.     How many snails are there on the various remnant patches of Cumberland Plain?

4.    We wondered if we could mark them and do capture mark release recapture studies to estimate the size of the populations? During the course of this conversation another question arose.

5.    What can we mark snails with?

6.    Will it hurt them (kill them)?

7.    Will they be more vulnerable to predators?

8.    Has this been done before? Yes

9.    Will the UV pigments and mediums use to mark the snails last long enough to be used in a study on snails?
A quick search of the published literature reveals that UV pigments / dyes do not appear to have been used to mark terrestrial snails. The two key (so far!) papers are:
Henrya, P and Jarne, P. 2007.  Marking hard-shelled gastropods:tag loss, impact on life-history traits, and perspectives in biology.  Invertebrate Biology 126(2): 138-153.
Severns, P. M. 2009. A conspicuous, water-resistant ink for marking terrestrial snails. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 75, 93-94..
10.    What animals in what studies have been marked with UV / fluorescent pigments / dyes?

11.    Can we use the common introduced snail Helix asperaas a surrogate to investigate:

–     The possible effects on mortality of snails that have been UV marked?
–    How long will the mark remain on the snail? For example, if we mark the snail this spring (2015) will the mark remain (be detectable) next spring (2016)?
Can you find any research paper(s) that report the use of UV pigments and or dyes as markers in any study on animals (particularly invertebrates)?
Of these papers do any highlight any issues that we may face when UV marking and working with snails?
Can you think of any concerns or issues we should consider in using Helix as a surrogate?
Students groups should discuss these questions and issues I have identified above.
This work will assist and help prepare you for completing the final report (Introduction ONLY )near the end of the semester. Do NOT leave it to then to get a start. At this stage you should be reading about the Cumberland snail and thinking about marking issues and using Helix as a surrogate.