Utah roundmouth snail
|Utah roundmouth snail
Temporal range: Pleistocene–Recent
|Drawing of apertural view of the shell of Valvata utahensis|
informal group Lower Heterobranchia
Valvata sincera var. utahensis Call, 1884
The Utah roundmouth snail, also known as the Utah valvata or desert valvata, scientific name Valvata utahensis, is a species of freshwater snail with a gill and an operculum, an aquatic gastropod mollusk in the family Valvatidae, the valve snails.
There was established a subspecies Valvata utahensis horatii Baily & Baily, 1951 from pleistocene, but Taylor (1966) stated, that Valvata utahensis horatii should be a synonym for Valvata utahensis.
The shell is turbinate in shape, thin, translucent and shining. It is a yellowish horn color at the apex, white or greenish white below the apex. The shell has four whorls which are convex, regularly increasing, minutely striate, the uppermost shouldered, with a single, well-marked carina which becomes obsolete on the body whorl. Turbinate shell form and an incipient carina (keel-shaped ridge) on the dorsal surface of the shell distinguishes Valvata utahensis from the morphologically similar Valvata humeralis.
The spire of the shell is obtusely elevated, and the apex is depressed. The suture is well impressed. The aperture of the shell is circular and slightly angled posteriorly. The lip of the aperture is simple, nearly continuous, and it is appressed to the body whorl.
The Utah valvata snail, or at least its closely related ancestors, has been described as ranging widely across the western United States and Canada as far back as the Jurassic Period, 199.6 ± 0.6 to 145.5 ± 4 million years ago.
Fossils of the Utah valvata snail are known from Utah to California. The Utah valvata snail was likely present in the ancestral Snake River as it flowed south from Idaho, through Nevada, and into northeastern California. The Snake River escaped to join the Columbia River Basin approximately 2 million years ago.
The modern range of the snail extended as far downstream as Grandview (rkm 783, rm 487). However, recent mollusc surveys throughout Utah revealed no live snails, and the species is believed to be extirpated there.
At present, this species occurs in a few springs and mainstem Snake River sites in the Hagerman Valley (rkm 932, rm 579). Additional locations include a few sites immediately upstream and downstream of the Minidoka Dam (rkm 1,086, rm 675), near the Eagle Rock dam site (rkm 1,142, rm 709) and below the American Falls Dam downstream to Burley.
Recent surveys at The Nature Conservancy’s "Thousand Springs Preserve" revealed declines in numbers and range of the Utah valvata over a four-year period. In 1991, colonies of this snail persisted in only two areas at the Thousand Springs Preserve, with a population estimate for each colony at or below 6,000 individuals. The population density varied, but it averaged six individuals per meter2 (2.69 ft2).
For new localities see Federal Register, July 16, 2009.
The Utah valvata snail persists in a variety of aquatic habitats, including cold-water springs, spring creeks and tributaries, the mainstem Snake River and associated tributary stream habitats, and reservoirs.
It was thought that the snail is specialized on well-oxygenated areas of limestone, mud, or mud-sand substrate, among stream beds with submergent aquatic vegetation. It was thought to be absent from pure gravel-boulder substrate. Chara, a rooted aquatic plant that concentrates both calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and silicon dioxide (SiO2), is a common associate of Valvata utahensis. However the species occurs on a variety of substrate types including both fine sediments and more coarse substrates in areas both with and without macrophytes.
The species has been collected at a wide range of depths, ranging from less than 1 m to depths greater than 14 m, and at temperatures between 4 and 24 °C (39 and 75 °F).
Recent work conducted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) in the upper Snake River demonstrated that Utah valvata snail presence was positively correlated with water depth up to 5.5 m (up to 18.37 feet) and temperature up to 17.2 °C (up to 63 °F), and Utah valvata snail density was positively correlated with macrophyte (a water plant large enough to be observed with the unaided eye) coverage, water depth, and temperature.
Similarly, Hinson (2006) analyzed available data from several studies conducted by the USBR (2001-2004), Idaho Power Company (IPC) (1995-2002), IDFG, Idaho Transportation Department (2003-2004) and others, and demonstrated a positive relationship between Utah valvata snail presence and macrophytes, depth, and fine substrates. One study reported Utah valvata snails in organically enriched fine sediments with a heavy macrophyte community, downstream of an aquaculture facility (rm 588).
Survey data and information reported since the time of listing demonstrate that the Utah valvata snail is able to live in reservoirs, which were previously thought to be unsuitable for the species.
Valvata utahensis is primarily a detritivore, grazing along the mud surface ingesting diatoms or small plant debris. In habitats with boulders on mud, the snail has been observed grazing diatoms and other periphyton (sessile organisms that live attached to rocky surfaces) and aquatic plants.
The Utah valvata snail is univoltine (produces one group of eggs per year) with a lifespan of about 1 year. Reproduction and spawning occur asynchronously between March and October, depending on habitat, with the majority of young spawned between August and October.
The Utah valvata snail has been observed to produce egg masses which contained 3 to 12 developing snails. Egg masses are approximately 1.0 to 1.5 mm in diameter, and young snails are approximately 0.7 mm in size upon emergence.
Predators of the Utah valvata snail have not been documented; however, it is assumed that some predation by native and non-native species occurs.
This species was listed as endangered on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service list of endangered species on December 14, 1992.
On July 17, 2009, the Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposal in the Federal Register to remove the species from the list of endangered species stating that the Service now knows that the Utah valvata snail is not limited to areas of cold-water springs or spring outflows; rather, it persists in a variety of aquatic habitats, including cold-water springs, spring creeks and tributaries, the mainstream Snake River and associated tributary stream habitats, and reservoirs influenced by dam operations. The snail was delisted in 2010.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (August 25, 2010). "Removal of the Utah (Desert) Valvata Snail From the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife". Federal Register: August 25, 2010: 52272-52282.
- Call R. E. (1884). "On the Quaternary and Recent Mollusca of the Great Basin, with Descriptions of New Forms". U.S. Geolological Survey Bulletin 11: 64 pp. Page 44, plate VI, figure 1-3.
- Valvata utahensis. ITIS, accessed 19 November 2008
- Call R. E. (1886). "On certain recent, quaternary, and new fresh-water Mollusca". Proceeding Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences 5: [https://archive.org/stream/proceedingsofdav05dave#page/4/mode/2up 4-5, plate I, figure 1-3.
- Walker, B. (March 6, 1902). "A Review of the Carinate Valvatas of the United States". The Nautilus 15(11): 121—125.
- Baily J. L. & Baily R. I. (1951). "Further observations on the Mollusca of the relict lakes in the Great basin". The Nautilus 65(2): 46-53, page 50, plate IV, figure 5, 5a.
- Taylor D. W. (1966). "Summary of North American Blancan nonmarine mollusks". Malacologia 4(1): 1-172. page 132.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (July 16, 2009). "Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants, 12-month finding on a petition to remove the Utah (desert) valvata snail from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife and Proposed Rule". Federal Register 74(135).
- Taylor D. W. (1987). Thousand Springs Threatened or Endangered Snails. Unpublished report submitted to The Nature Conservancy. 2 pp.
- Frest T. J. (1991). "Statement presented at Public Hearing on April 3, 1991, Boise, Idaho, containing information on the distribution, ecology, and history of the five candidate species".
- Clarke A. H. (1991). Research Summary Submitted to the Utah Field Office, USFWS. 4pp. Part of an information packet submitted to the Boise Field Office, January 24, 1991.
- Frest T. J. & Johannes E. J. (1992). Distribution and Ecology of the Endemic Relict Mollusc Fauna of Idaho TNC’s Thousand Springs Preserve. Final Report to the Idaho Nature Conservancy, Sun Valley, Idaho. 291 pp.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (December 1995). Snake River Aquatic Species Recovery Plan. Snake River Basin Office, Ecological Services, Boise, Idaho. 92 pp.
- Miller M. P., Weigel D. E., Mock K. E. & Roth B. (2006). "Evidence for an outcrossing reproductive strategy in the hermaphroditic heterobranch gastropod Valvata utahensis (Valvatidae), with notes on the genetic differentiation of V. utahensis and V. humeralis". Journal of Molluscan Studies 72(4): 397-403. doi:10.1093/mollus/eyl016.
- Lysne S. & Koetsier P. (2006). "The life history of the Utah (desert) valvata, Valvata utahensis, in the Snake River, Idaho". Journal of Freshwater Ecology 21: 285-291.
- Cordeiro, J. & Perez, K. (2011). "Valvata utahensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 3.1 (3.1). International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- Lysne S. & Koetsier P. (2008). "Comparison of Desert Valvata Snail Growth at Three Densities of the Invasive New Zealand Mudsnail". Western North American Naturalist 68(1): 103-106.
- Miller M. P., Weigel D. E. & Mock K. E. (2006). "Patterns of genetic structure in the endangered aquatic gastropod Valvata utahensis (Mollusca: Valvatidae) at small and large spatial scales". Freshwater Biology 51(12): 2362-2375. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2006.01665.x.
- Taylor D. W. (1966). "Summary of North American Blancan nonmarine mollusks". Malacologia 4(1): 1-172. Figure 6 - the map.
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