10 July 2008

It’s a small snail

The tiny coastal terrestrial Assiminea succinea has become one of my favorite snails. I have been maintaining a small “colony” of them at home since the end of March. Although the snails are far from their original home in Florida, they have so far done well.

My work with A. succinea was interrupted last week when I was in Carbondale for the American Malacological Society meeting. One of the symposia at the AMS meeting was in memory of the late Leslie Hubricht (1908-2005) who collected and studied the land snails of the eastern U.S. for about 50 years.

When I first started studying A. succinea, I was under the impression that it was a southern species. But then I looked it up in Malacolog and was surprised to see that there were records of it not only from Maryland and Virginia, but also from further up north along the eastern coast. The citation for the Maryland and Virginia records was a 1972 special scientific report (#65) from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Back in the spring, I searched for the report in the on-line catalogs of the libraries of the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian, but couldn’t find it. Until this morning I hadn’t thought of looking for it in the most obvious place, the library of the VIMS itself. Sure enough, a pdf copy was available.

As I had hoped, the report listed the locations where A. succinea had been recorded in Maryland and Virginia (p. 126 under Syncera succinea) and also mentioned the name of a familiar collector.

NMNH* has specimens from Crisfield and Huggins’ Pt. (Potomac R.), Md., from RR* (Mollusk, Lancaster Co.), Shell Bay, W. of Chincoteague, Accomack Co., Willis Wharf, Bayford, Cherrystone, Oyster, Smith Is. and Fisherman’s Is., Northampton Co., Western Branch of the Elizabeth R., 11-III-45; and Willoughby Spit, 15-VIII-43. The last two collections were by Leslie Hubricht...
It’s a small world.

*NMNH: National Museum of Natural History; I don’t know what “RR” stands for.


Tim Pearce said...

I recall finding shells of A. succinea on the beach at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. They should be curated at the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
-Tim Pearce

Katie said...

Wow. They are cute. How do you maintain them. I also got some extension tubes which should be helping my macro photography.