Bulimulus sporadicus (d’Orbigny, 1835)
During a shopping trip to a business (Duval
site image) in an
industrial area in the core city of downtown Jacksonville, Duval County,
on 2/13/2009 Dr. Harry G. Lee
discovered a colony of Bulimulus - a Bulimulus species
that defied identification and was temporarily dubbed
Bulimulus sp. aff. guadalupensis
(Bruguière, 1789) West Indian Bulimulus. Bulimulus
guadalupensis are not uncommon in southeastern Florida, where they
were introduced from the West Indies. However, the Jacksonville
Bulimulus find (over 200 miles from the nearest known Bulimulus
population) represented the first time that a Bulimulus of any
ilk has been recorded from
Some 16 months later on 6/26/2010, Harry and Ed Cavin discovered another population of the same Bulimulus species in the roadside swale along US-301 about five miles south of Callahan, Florida in Nassau County - a location some 20 miles northwest of the site of the initial find in Duval County. (image of specimens - site image)
On 11/5/2011 a third, but very large, population of this species was found by this reporter's brother and his wife, Dennis and Teggy Frank, at Marble Masters at 7621 North Main Street in downtown Jacksonville. During a survey of the location by this reporter on 12/26/2011, both live snails and empty shells were found in the immediate vicinity of the nearby CSX Transportation railroad tracks, in vegetation nearby, as well as immediately adjacent to the aforementioned marble dealer. Subsequent surveys of this site reveal that the population extends for at least three city blocks with the snails present on both the east and west sides of the railroad tracks. (image of specimens)
A fourth population was discovered by this reporter on 9/4/2012 immediately adjacent to the same CSX Transportation rail line on North Main Street about 0.3 miles north of the Marble Masters site listed in the above paragraph but on the north side of the Trout River. The bridge spanning the river between the two Main Street snail sites is about 0.25 miles in length. (image of specimens - site image)
As all four known populations of the species were in close proximity to CSX Transportation rail lines, this reporter theorized that the species was being introduced/spread by CSX rolling stock (i.e. dropping off passing trains). Therefore to test this hypothesis, an intense effort was made to find additional populations along CSX Transportation lines. This effort proved to be extremely successful and eleven additional populations were discovered in Duval County as well as a population in Palatka, Putnam County, Florida - some 65 miles south of Jacksonville (see a chronology of the Bulimulus population finds below).
On 11/8/2012 information was received from Dr. David Robinson (USDA APHIS PPQ NIS) that the unidentified Duval, Nassau, Putnam Counties Bulimulus species had now been found in a CSX railroad yard at 62nd St. in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida - a location some 250 miles southwest of Jacksonville. The USDA identified the species as Bulimulus sporadicus.
The question remains as to where this new Florida exotic Bulimulus species is originating to be spread by railroad rolling stock. During the course of the surveys in Duval County this reporter had a conversation with a member of CSX Transportation railroad police who indicated that some of their rolling stock originates in Mexico and that human stowaways were a recurring problem. According to the USDA, Bulimulus sporadicus has also been found in Houston, Texas (no further information). Obviously the human stowaways from Mexico are not alone.
Bulimulus Survey Notes
On 9/6 and 7/2012 this reporter surveyed the CSX rail line for a distance of about seven miles along North Main Street north of the Marble Masters Bulimulus population. During the two surveys four additional Bulimulus populations were found (Eastport Road - 11500 block of North Main Street image of specimens - site image, Setzer Road - 10200 block of North Main Street image of specimens - image of specimen on tracks, Franklin Avenue - 10000 block of North Main Street image of specimens, and Clark Road - 9600 block of North Main Street image of specimens - site image bringing the total number of locations along this rail line where the species is present to six and encompassing a distance of 4.5 miles. (See Map). It should also be noted that during the survey two new populations of Praticolella mexicana K. Perez, 2011 were also discovered. Praticolella mexicana is commonly found in south Florida but only recently (2009) made its appearance in the northeast of the state. Additionally, prior to these two new finds, the species was only known from four locations, one of which harbors Bulimulus (Duval Container Company).
On 9/13-14/2012 the CSX Transportation railroad line just south of West Beaver Street (the same area of town where the Bulimulus were initially found at the Duval Container Company in 2009) was surveyed and and five locations were checked. Of the five, three had a thriving population of Bulimulus and at two locations Praticolella mexicana were found. Sites with Bulimulus populations were the Stockton Street image of specimens - site image, King Street image of specimens - site image, and McDuff Avenue image of specimens - site image railroad crossings (see map below). The Stockton Street location had an extremely large population - the largest seen thus far found at any location - and were present on both the east and west sides of the street.
On 9/16/2012 yet another CSX Transportation railroad line in the same area of town was surveyed. A small population of Bulimulus was discovered at the CSX railroad crossing near 2096 Dennis Street site image. This location is not far from where Harry Lee initially discovered the Bulimulus behind the Duval Container Company but is on a different railroad line (see map below). Additionally, it was discovered that the Duval Container Company population had spread considerably with Bulimulus present on abandoned buildings and under vegetation/debris on South Myrtle Avenue to at least Elm Street which is a considerable distance south the Duval Container Company.
On 9/21/2012 the CSX Transportation railroad line just south of West Beaver Street was surveyed further to the west and a large thriving Bulimulus population was found at the Lane Avenue railroad crossing site image. The snails were present on both the northeast and southeast areas of the crossing. This location is 2.8 miles west of the previously known westerly population on this railroad line at McDuff Avenue (see map below).
On 10/11/2012 the CSX railroad line that runs through Palatka, Putnam County, Florida was investigated - a location about 65 miles south of Jacksonville. This line is the same line along which Bulimulus were found at the Dennis Street railroad crossing in Jacksonville. This line is also utilized by Amtrak for their east coast service. Two live Bulimulus adults were found in a field immediately adjacent to the tracks in Palatka directly across from the Palatka Amtrak station site image. Also present were a large number of Praticolella mexicana - the only known location in Putnam County where this species has thus far been found. This find of Praticolella suggests that this species too is being spread/dispersed by rail. However, unlike the Bulimulus which have thus far only been found adjacent to CSX railroad lines, Praticolella have been found at three locations in northeast Florida where a railroad line was not present.
On 11/26/2012 a thirteenth Duval County Bulimulus sporadicus population was discovered at the Mc Quade Street CSX Transportation railroad line crossing - a location in the core city of Jacksonville located midway between two CSX switching yards site image (see map below). The snails were found on both the north and south sides of Mc Quade street on the west side of the tracks.
On 3/15/2014 a fourteenth Duval County Bulimulus sporadicus population was discovered in low vegetation along West Church Street just west of the intersection of North Myrtle Avenue in the core city of Jacksonville site image. Empty Praticolella mexicana shells were also present. The same date, several live Bulimulus were also discovered on a building on the west side of North Myrtle Avenue neat the intersection of West Adams Street. This suggests that Bulimulus are present in that entire block of North Myrtle Avenue south of West Church Street and west of North Myrtle Avenue.
During a field survey on 4/14/2014 a pair of live Bulimulus sporadicus were discovered in vegetation along the CSX Transportation railroad line just south of the Rosselle Street crossing. This site had previously been surveyed during 2013 and no Bulimulus were found. It should be noted that this railroad line is the same line that runs through Palatka in Putnam County, some 60 miles distant, where live Bulimulus were found on 10/11/2012.
On 6/6/2014 an Email was received from Cory Penca (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) reporting that snails resembling Rabdotus dealbatus (Say, 1821) [Whitewashed Rabdotus] had been found in Ruskin, Hillsborough, Florida. The images of the snails provided by Mr. Penca are without a doubt Bulimulus sporadicus. Follow-up information revealed that the snails were found within 600 feet of a CSX Transportation railroad line that runs through Ruskin.
On 7/6/2014 the CSX Transportation railroad crossing at Halsema Road, just south of West Beaver Street, was surveyed and a very large thriving Bulimulus population was found. This site was previously surveyed during September of 2012 and no Bulimulus were found at that time. This new find, about 11 miles west of the Duval Container Company where the species was initially discovered during 2009, is the furthest west that the species has been found along the railroad line that runs from downtown Jacksonville to Baldwin in far western Duval County. Interestingly, about half of the snails found at Halsema Road were albinistic. image of specimens
On 7/9/2014 the CSX Transportation railroad line was surveyed between the known Bulimulus sporadicus populations at the Lane Avenue railroad crossing and the Halsema Road railroad crossing; a distance of about six miles (see bottom map). During the course of the survey three new locations housing Bulimulus populations were discovered which included the Hammond Boulevard railroad crossing, the Devoe Street railroad crossing site image, and the Addor Lane railroad crossing. While live specimens were found at Hammond Boulevard and Devoe Street, only empty shells were found at Addor Lane - but in large numbers.
Map showing Bulimulus sporadicus sites near CSX rail line along/near West Beaver Street
Duval County, Florida