24 July 2006

Sleeping Albinaria


I have written about the aestivation of land snails during the hot and dry Mediterranean summers. My recent trip in western Turkey gave me new opportunities to observe and photograph dormant snails. These are Albinaria caerulea, one of the 3 species of Albinaria present around the town of Kuşadasi (Read this paper of mine for more info).


One characteristic of A. caerulea is their tendency to aestivate in groups, usually stuck to each others’ shells. Why do they do that? Its been suggested that such aggregates may increase the micro humidity, thus helping the snails better cope with the lack of water (Giokas et al., 2005. J. Moll. Stud. 71:15–23). Not all species of Albinaria form such groups, however. I suspect there may be other reasons for group aestivation. I will return to this subject in the future.


CJG said...

Thank your for these classical but always fascinating pixs.. Can U pls better explain the micro humidity concept? Is that humidity inside or outside the aggregates or both inside and outside?Hope to read some more of your considerations on this in the future. Re:Albis found on walls of paleochristian church in ruins of Ephesus: is there one species there or more than one? ID ?
KInd regards


My understanding is that in this case micro humidity refers to the humidity in the immediate vicinity of an aggregate. But I don't think it is a well-defined concept.

There may be 2 subspecies of A. caerulea in & around Ephesus, but I am not sure. Take a look at my paper linked in the post.