Snail is a Main Character in New Book
Curator Tim Pearce worked closely with author Elisabeth Tova Bailey as she wrote The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, a charming book about the relationship she developed with a snail during the eight months she was bedridden from a mystery virus. The story brings to the popular consciousness intriguing details in splendid (and accessible) prose about the lives of these traditionally overlooked creatures with whom we share the planet. The author is very inquisitive and an insatiable reader, so it was a joy to work with her in getting the science right. Her book is helping snails to get some of the attention they deserve. For more information, visit www.elisabethtovabailey.net.
Land Snails of Limestone Communities and Update of Land Snail Distributions in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has 120 reported land snail species, but information about their distribution within Pennsylvania has been poor. Prior to this study, six well-surveyed counties were known to have 35 or more species, but 34 (50%) counties reported fewer than 15 species. To improve knowledge about distributions and habitat associations of land snails, curator Tim Pearce compiled museum records, inventoried land snails through fieldwork at 11 limestone areas in western Pennsylvania (limestone has diverse snail faunas), and documented plant communities, habitat parameters, and soil chemistry at fieldwork sites. He documented 1022 new county records since the 1985 distribution maps. Now only 15 counties report fewer than 15 snail species. Habitat analysis confirms that limestone areas harbor greater diversity of snails. Updated distribution maps of 120 species of Pennsylvania land snails are presented. Click here to see the report (Acrobat PDF, 2.8 Mb)
Carnegie Museum researchers contribute to a new publication from the American Malacological Society
Have you ever wondered about collecting snails with a leaf blower? How about the ins and outs of preserving a giant squid? If questions like these arise from time to time, you want a copy of The Mollusks: A Guide to Their Study, Collection, and Preservation. This book would not exist without major contributors from Carnegie Museum of Natural History Section of Mollusks personnel. Click here to learn more about the book and find out how to order! (Microsoft Word, 26Kb)
Snails on the Radio
A rare snail, Hendersonia occulta (Kiwistone drop), was known from only 2 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties before 2005. Fieldwork by Tim Pearce in 2005 increased the number of known counties for this snail from 2 to 5, and noted finding the snail near rare larkspur plants. A 5-minute radio expedition produced in 2006 by Cynthia Berger from WPSU-FM in University Park, Pennsylvania, featured Pearce successfully following a 10-year old report of the larkspur to find Hendersonia occulta in yet another county: http://wpsu.org/radio/single_entry/LL-1936/stories
Land Snails of Pennsylvania Web Site
This informative website presents species descriptions and images of the land snail species found in Pennsylvania. The site also provides detailed discussions of Land Snail Ecology as well as a helpful identification key. The site can be accessed at: http://www.carnegiemnh.org/mollusks/palandsnails/
Powdermill Nature Reserve: Type Locality for a Flagellate Protozoan
Illustration: Emily Ullo
Photo: Acta Protozoologica
Powdermill Nature Reserve, the environmental research center of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, is now the type locality for a flagellate protozoan that is a parasite in a land snail. The new species of flagellate, Cryptobia innominata, is microscopic with two whip-like flagellae and occurs in the northern threetooth land snail, Triodopsis tridentata. Powdermill is the type locality for the new flagellate because the “host” snail was collected there by Curator Tim Pearce during the June 2002 BioForay, a two-day biodiversity identification event.
The flagellate was described in the journal Acta Protozoologica (2004, vol. 43, pp. 123-132) by protozoologist Eugene N. Kozloff of Friday Harbor Labs in Washington State. Dr. Kozloff was skeptical about J. Leidy’s 1846 description of a related flagellate as occurring in three different species of snails, because the parasitic flagellate is passed among host individuals when they mate. Since snails mate with their own species, different species of snails could have different species of flagellates. When he examined the flagellates in the Powdermill snail, his suspicion was confirmed, and he named the new species of flagellate from the Powdermill snail.
A type locality is where a particular type specimen was found. The type specimens (individuals he examined when he wrote the description of the new species) of the flagellate are deposited in the collection at the Smithsonian. Type localities are important because if someone needs to examine additional specimens, the best place to look is the type locality.
Corbicula, an annotated bibliography
By Clement L. Counts, III. 2006. 436 pages.
2.3 Mb Adobe PDF version
2.4 Mb Microsoft Word version
Identification Guide to Land Snails and Slugs of Western Washington
By Timothy A. Pearce, Casey H. Richart, William P. Leonard, and Paul A. Hohenlohe
High-quality photographic images facilitate identification of the 78 species of native and introduced Pacific Northwest land snails. This key is intended for use by scientists, amateurs, and conservation workers. We would appreciate knowing your suggestions, corrections, and additions. The guide may be reached at this link: http://www.evergreen.edu/ants/TESCBiota/mollusc/key/webkey.htm