Daedalochila auriculata (Say, 1818) Ocala Liptooth At Wards Creek, State Road 13

St. Johns County, Florida

    On October 10, 2008, this reporter visited Wards Creek* on State Road 13 (SR-13) in western St. Johns County while engaged in an ongoing project to locate additional sites housing a population of the elusive Daedalochila auriculata. This site, located immediately north of the intersection of SR-13 and SR-16 (GPS:  29.58110N 081.32183W [WGS-84 Datum]), had been briefly surveyed once previously and no Daedalochila had been found. However, based upon intimate knowledge of other nearby Daedalochila populations, the location was deemed worthy of a second look. This reporters perseverance was soon rewarded when a single empty Daedalochila auriculata shell was found in the roadside swale of the southwestern approach to the creek. Further searching yielded two additional empty shells but no living specimens could be located.

    A return visit was made to the site on 10/13/2008 and a more extensive survey was conducted. While a few additional empty shells were found, no live specimens could be located. It was then decided to closely examine the northwestern approach to the creek - an area that had been briefly checked twice in the past. Surprisingly, almost a dozen empty Daedalochila shells were found high up in the swale thus confirming that the species was present both north and south of the creek along SR-13. However, despite a thorough search, no living specimens could be located there either.

    Finally on 3/5/2010, after having checked the site on a periodic basis for over 14 months, a single living D. auricultata was finally found in the lower roadside swale on the southwestern creek approach thus confirming that a living population was in fact present.

    The site was revisited on a periodic basis over the ensuing four years with no success in locating any additional live specimens. Finally during a survey on 12/11/2014, it was discovered that the Daecalochila habitat had been cleared by apparent St. Johns County authorities probably in preparation for construction work. During this visit three living Daedalolchila auricultata  were found in what had previously been an inaccessible area.

*Some Internet mapping programs identify the body of water spanned as "Wades Creek." However, Florida Department of Transportation records confirm that the correct name is Wards Creek.

Southwest creek approach (image, left) where the Daedalochila were found (10/10/2008)

Southwest bridge approach (image, left) where the Daedalochila were found (10/10/2008)

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