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Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail

Chittenango ovate amber snail, Novisuccinea chittenangoensis, is a species of air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial gastropod mollusk in the family Succineidae, the amber snails.

Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail

Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail

The Chittenango ovate amber snail has a translucent shell with 3 1/2 whorls on an elongated spire. Maximum size is about .9 inch (23 mm). The shell is glossy, off-white to pale or pinkish yellow and is marked with growth wrinkles and lines. The soft body of the snail is a pale, translucent yellow.

The outer covering of the soft parts, called the mantle, is pale yellowish-olive and is often marked with black streaks and blotches. A prominent dark blotch can be found on the upper side of the foot.

The Chittenango ovate amber snail and its habitat perfectly suit one another. The waterfall’s spray zone provides a moist, mild environment. The surrounding rocks are calcium-rich, and they support lush vegetation. This snail seems to need calcium in some form as much as it does the green vegetation it eats to survive.

Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail

Chittenango Ovate Amber Snails

Life Cycle :This species is a terrestrial snail with a life span of about two and a half years. It is hermaphroditic (individuals having both male and female reproductive organs) and mates from April until June. Four to fifteen transparent, jelly-like eggs are laid about a month after mating. The young snails hatch in 2-3 weeks, measuring .04 inch (1 mm).

Chittenango snails apparently feed on microscopic algae and other species of microflora that grow on the rocks and vegetation which occur in the spray zone of the waterfall around which they live. They ingest a lot of calcium carbonate for shell development. Adapted to relatively constant environmental and climatic conditions, including a clean water supply, the snail is intolerant of sudden changes.

Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail

Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail

Control: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation took a lead role in initiating and completing a recovery plan for this species. In March 1983, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave final approval to the Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail Recovery Plan. This plan provides a detailed outline of activities essential to the protection and perpetuation of a self-sustaining colony.

Recovery of this species in part requires strict protection of its habitat and a reduction of contaminants entering the creek. The Chittenango State Park receives more than 100,000 visitors annually. Park managers direct visitors away from the critical habitat area and the immediate area of the falls is relatively inaccessible. Despite these safeguards, some trampling and overturned rocks have been observed. Any disturbance can severely affect reproductive success.

Ensuring this unique species continued existence and hopefully augmenting its population requires a captive colony of snails. Efforts to establish a captive colony of Chittenango snails began in 1992. A collection of four adult snails produced approximately 40 hatchlings. As expected, initial results indicate that Chittenango snails do not reproduce or grow as quickly as the pest species of snail, but they are at least encouraging in that the species can be maintained and produced in captivity.

Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail

Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail

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