13 June 2005

The land snail family Enidae in Anatolia 1 - revised

During the next 3 2 weeks you have to bear with me as I post a series of pieces on the land snails of Turkey in preparation for the talk I will be presenting at the American Malacological Society’s annual meeting in Monterey, CA., at the end of this month.

My talk is specifically about the snails in the family Enidae in Turkey. Hopefully, these posts will help me organize my thoughts and prepare my slides. So, here we go.

For starters, here’s Turkey’s climate in a nut, or perhaps more appropriately, a snail shell.

There are 3 major macroclimate zones in Turkey with several transition zones in between. Northern Turkey bordering the Black Sea is characterized by what is called the Black Sea climate: rainy throughout the year with winters colder than along the southern coasts. The southern and western coasts are under the influence of the typical Mediterranean climate: hot and dry summers; rainy and mild winters. The central region is under the influence of a type of continental climate: long cold winters; short, but hot summers.

One question that is in my mind is if and how these macroclimate patterns influence land snail distributions. And today’s example is the range of Multidentula ovularis, one of the smaller (5-6 mm long), if not the smallest, enid land snail in Turkey.

The map above shows the approximate distribution range of this species; the northwest, eastern and southern boundaries of its range being approximate. Besides Turkey, the species has also been recorded from Bulgaria1.

Considering that the species ranges across 3 macroclimate zones in Turkey (Mediterranean, Black Sea and continental) and then extends further north into Bulgaria, I can conclude that Multidentula ovularis tolerates different types of macroclimate and that the extent of its range has not been influenced strongly by climate. Moreover, the range of the genus Multidentula extends south to Israel.

Note: This is the revised version of this piece that I first posted here on 6 June 2005. In the original version the range of M. ovularis included Israel, because the species is listed in Heller's book on the land snails of Israel2. However, last Friday Ümit Kebapçi in Turkey and Henk Mienis in Israel informed me that M. ovularis doesn't actually live in Israel.

It is not known at this point how far south the range of M. ovularis extends.

1. Fauna Europaea.
2. Heller, J. 1993. Land snails of the land of Israel [in Hebrew]. Ministry of Defense, Tel Aviv.

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