Gray-foot lancetooth snails inhabit moist areas of upland woods, including river valleys with oak, elm, hickory, basswood, walnut, and pine trees. They may be found in growth such as cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia), and poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), as well as in forest debris and on the underside of logs. (Burch and Jung, 1988; Hubricht, 1985; Painter, 2013)
- Terrestrial Biomes
Gray-foot lancetooth snails are 11-21 mm in diameter, with 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 whorls. The height of an adult shell ranges from 5-10 mm. Their shells, which are whitish to greenish or yellowish in color, are glossy, smooth, and sculptured, with irregular growth and fine spiral lines. The shell shape is round or flat like a disk and the spire is depressed. The underside is widely umbilicate, with a wide opening where the shell coils. The shell opening (aperture) is oblong and crescent-shaped, with an internal layer of calcareous material. The thickened lip of the aperture is expanded at the base and the outer margin. ("Virginia land snails: Haplotrema concavum", 2013; Burch and Jung, 1988; Pilsbry, 1946)
Within the shell, gray-foot lancetooth snails have a thick, coarse epidermis, which may be checkered in appearance. Two pairs of tentacles are found on the head and the mantle edge is broad and heavy, with a large and prominent flap on the right part of the elongate neck. The radula has a few inverted v-shaped transverse rows of teeth. Other teeth are sharply pointed, the inner ones increasing and outermost decreasing in size. Most of the teeth are unicuspid and slender. (Burch and Jung, 1988; Pilsbry, 1946)
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes alike
- Range length
- 12 to 13 mm
- 0.47 to 0.51 in
Land snails deposit their eggs in moist areas, secreting a substance to make egg masses stick. Hatching typically occurs within 7-10 days. Time to hatching is dependent on moisture and temperature; they may reach maturity more slowly in dry areas. Maturity is usually reached once the shell aperture's outer lip has formed. ("Illinois Snails and Slugs", 2009; Burch and Pearce, 1990)
Land snails in the clade Stylommotophora, such as gray-foot lancetooths, are hermaphroditic. Although they usually mate with other snails, they may also self-fertilize if the sperm and eggs of one individual become mature at the same time. Mating partners may be located by following mucus trails. Land snails typically exhibit a courtship ritual before mating begins. When gray-foot lancetooth snails mate, one will mount the other with its genital pore (located on the right side of the animal) above the genital pore of the other snail. The animal on top will crawl forward and thrust its head and neck downward upon reaching its partner's aperture rim. The snail on the bottom will arch its head and neck upward, and both snails will gnaw at the other's foreparts for several minutes before extruding their copulatory organs and mating. Each snail inserts its penis into the other's vagina and both animals will lay fertilized eggs. Copulation was observed lasting for over 10 hours in one instance. (Burch and Pearce, 1990; Tompa, 1984; Webb, 1943)
- Mating System
- polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Sexual maturity is likely reached when the lip at the aperture forms. In cooler or drier areas, growth is slower, so it takes longer for individuals to reach sexual maturity than in warmer, moist areas. Mating season for this species in unknown, although it is likely to be in the warmer months of the year. In captivity, individuals mated during October and January. Rain may also bring on increased mating. The average clutch size for land snails is 20 eggs. ("Illinois Snails and Slugs", 2009; Burch and Pearce, 1990; Tompa, 1984; Webb, 1943)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- simultaneous hermaphrodite
- Breeding interval
- Gray-foot lancetooth snails mate multiple times a year.
- Breeding season
- Breeding season for this species has not been clearly identified; it is likely that breeding occurs during spring and fall months.
- Average number of offspring
- Range gestation period
- 7 to 10 days
Land snails leave eggs after they are deposited; no parental care is exhibited. ("Illinois Snails and Slugs", 2009)
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
The lifespan of gray-foot lancetooth snails is unknown at this time; however, it is thought that they have a lifespan of 1-2 years, which is typical of land snails. ("Haplotrema concavum", 2003)
Light intensity, relative humidity, and temperature influence much of a land snail's behavior, since these factors affect the snail's water retention. In general, land snails are nocturnal, and more active with increased relative humidity and decreased temperature. In temperate climates, a snail may reduce its water content and form a membrane (epiphram) over the aperature as it aestivates over the winter. During dry periods, this same membrane will serve to prevent desiccation. Snails may also "lope" to avoid rough substrates or retain water. As predators, gray-foot lancetooth snails are more solitary than other land snails. (Atkinson, 2013; Burch and Pearce, 1990; Pearce, 1989)
Communication and Perception
Land snails leave mucus trails, which are used as a form of communication. The mucus allows the snails to detect their own species (to reproduce) and other species. Some land snails may grow more slowly when exposed to mucus trails of the same species. Gray-foot lancetooth snails are known to follow mucus trails of their prey. The anterior tentacles of stylommatophoran snails are chemosensitive and their labia are both touch and chemosensitive. These snails can find food in still air by following olfactory gradients. Eyes located at the tops of the tentacles can detect light and may also be used for sensing forms at night. (Atkinson, 2013; Burch and Pearce, 1990; Nordsieck, 2011)
Gray-foot lancetooth snails are carnivorous, feeding on other snails and chewing on dead shells to obtain calcium. Although they are known to be cannabalistic, studies have shown that these snails show a preference for young of other species, such as flamed discs (Anguispira alternata), over their own species. Younger individuals will eat the eggs of thier own and other species, but begin to consume whole snails once reaching 6-7 mm in diameter. Gray-foot lancetooth snails prefer larger prey items with softer shells, such as juvenile oval ambersnails (Novisuccinea ovalis). This species will also eat nematodes and plants. (Atkinson and Balaban, 1997; Atkinson, 1998; Hotopp, 2006; Hubricht, 1985; Painter, 2013; Shearer and Atkinson, 2001)
Gray-foot lancetooth snails will follow the slime trails of their prey. They attack smaller prey by climbing over or turning their prey's shell. When attacking larger snails, they will crawl inside their prey's shell. An attacked snail will typically react by contracting into its shell, pulling the head of the gray-foot lancetooth snail with it. The snail then feeds on its prey, which may take several hours. This predatory snail may also transport its prey to another place to eat it, by first extending its head towards and contacting its prey, then contracting its own head, dragging it along. Gray-foot lancetooth snails may transport their prey to keep it from conspecifics, or in order to hide from potential predators. (Atkinson and Balaban, 1997; Atkinson, 1998; Hotopp, 2006; Hubricht, 1985; Painter, 2013; Shearer and Atkinson, 2001)
- Animal Foods
- terrestrial worms
- Plant Foods
In general, land snails are preyed on by lampyrid beetle larvae and other insects, birds, reptiles, rodents, and other small mammals, particularly voles and shrews. (Burch and Pearce, 1990; Painter, 2013)
- Known Predators
- Insects (Class Insecta, Phylum Arthropoda)
- Lampyrid beetles (Family Lampyridae, Order Coleoptera)
- Birds (Class Aves, Phylum Chordata)
- Tufted titmouse (Parus bicolor)
- Common crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
- Common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
- European starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
- Eastern worm snake (Carphophis amoenus amoenus)
- Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina)
- Rodents (Order Rodentia, Class Mammalia)
- Voles (Family Cricetidae, Order Rodentia)
- Shrews (Family Soricidae, Order Soricomorpha)
Gray-foot lancetooths serve as predators of other snails, as well as prey to a number of other invertebrate and vertebrate predators. They may also act as intermediate hosts for brain worms (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis), which cause cerebrospinal nematodiasis in various ungulates. (Burch and Pearce, 1990; MDNR wildlife diseases laboratory, 2013)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
As carnivores, gray-foot lancetooth snails eat other snails, some of which are agricultural pests. ("Haplotrema concavum Say, 1821", 2013)
- Positive Impacts
- controls pest population
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Although they may serve as intermediate hosts to parasites which later live in small mammals, these snails do not pose any significant threat to humans. (MDNR wildlife diseases laboratory, 2013)
- Negative Impacts
- causes or carries domestic animal disease
The conservation status of gray-foot lancetooth snails has not yet been evaluated. (IUCN, 2013)
Renee Mulcrone (author), Special Projects, Jeremy Wright (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
- causes or carries domestic animal disease
either directly causes, or indirectly transmits, a disease to a domestic animal
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
eats mollusks, members of Phylum Mollusca
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
uses sight to communicate
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