Daedalochila auriculata (Say, 1818) Ocala Liptooth At Trout Creek Bridge

St. Johns County, Florida

    On October 2, 1977 Dr. Harry Lee took his five year-old son Bobby on a land snail collecting trip to far western St. Johns County, Florida. During the trip a modest number (3-5) of living Daedalochila auriculata were found on the left bank of Trout Creek (the southeastern bridge approach) where the water body is spanned by the County Road-16A bridge. None of the specimens were subsequently were retained, but the information was duly recorded in Harry's personal trip log under "Station 107."

    During August, 2008, some 31 years later, this reporter was surveying western St. Johns County in search of D. auriculata and decided to visit Harry's collection station to see if this elusive species was still present. A search of the Florida Museum of Natural History collection database failed to yield any information indicating that the site had been collected since Harry's visit.

    Upon arrival at the site on August 8, 2008 it was immediately apparent that D. auriculata were still present when an empty shell was spotted almost immediately after exiting my vehicle. A cursory examination of the area over the next hour yielded a total of 22 intact empty shells in the roadside swale but no living specimens could be located. A return visit was made two days later on August 11th and a more thorough examination of the site was accomplished. While an additional 27 empty shells were found, again no living specimens could be located.

    During the two visits all the areas around the bridge were thoroughly surveyed and the only Daedalochila that could be found were at the location visited during 1977 with the snails confined to the roadside swale for a distance of about 100 meters east of the creek bank with the center of the habitat at GPS 30.00539N 081.33476W (WGS-84 Datum). This compact colony pattern appears to be typical for all the Daedalochila auriculata stations identified in the county.

    Follow-up visits were made to the site on 9/2/2008 and 9/19/2008. During the latter visit a live Daedalochila auriculata was finally found beneath leaf litter in the swale. An additional 14 empty Daedalochila auriculata shells and a single living Daedalochila avara (Say, 1818) Florida Liptooth were also found. A further visit was made to the site on 9/26/2008 and three additional live specimens as well as nine empty shells were found. It appears likely that this sudden availability of living specimens was due to the fact that Trout Creek was  in a flood state and had inundated some of the less accessible Daedalochila habitat thus causing the snails to seek higher ground. A follow-up visit to the site on 10/5/2008 yielded one additonal live specimen as well as three empty shells.

    During a follow-up visit to the site on 10/24/2009, two Daedalochila auriculata, including a live specimen, were found in the swale on the northwest bridge approach some 500 feet northwest of the Trout Creek bridge. Although this area had previously been surveyed on several occasions, this was the first indication that the species was in fact present on the other side of the creek.

Daedalochila habitat on the southeast end of the CR-16A bridge (8/11/2008)

Daedalochila habitat on the southeast end of the CR-16A bridge (8/11/2008)

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