There will be a terrestrial gastropods workshop during the upcoming AMS meeting in Carbondale, Illinois. A "terrestrial gastropods introductory workbook" will be distributed during the workshop, which is currently being prepared. About a week ago, Kathryn Perez, one of the organizers of the workshop, asked, by e-mail, for volunteers to write short introductions for several North American land snail families. I volunteered to do any 2 of the 4 families I picked and she suggested that I write up the Discidae and the Punctidae.
Here is what I wrote for the Discidae and just e-mailed to Kathryn.
The genus Anguispira is endemic to North America. Anguispira are woodland snails. At least two species, A. alternata and A. fergusoni, characteristically climb trees in warm and wet weather, especially at night, to feed on fungi and rotting wood. Both A. alternata and A. fergusoni (and perhaps other species also) become dormant in the winter and laboratory populations of A. alternata are known to require exposure to low temperatures prior to reproduction. Increased winter temperatures due to global warming may, therefore, threaten especially the more southern populations of A. alternata. The known Anguispira species are conchologically variable, especially in spire height and peripheral angulation of the body whorl. In some cases, these variations may reflect cryptic species lumped under currently accepted taxa. The genus is in need of a taxonomic revision.Any errors and significant omissions of information will be corrected before the final version goes in the workbook.
Discus is a Holarctic genus. Most North American Discus species live in forests; D. whitneyi inhabits wet meadows and marshy places. The European D. Rotundatus has been recorded in parks and disturbed areas in northeast and northwest U.S. and Canada.
Incidentally, A. alternata and A. fergusoni were 2 of the snails mentioned in today's earlier post.
Tomorrow I will post what I wrote about the Punctidae.