Daedalochila auriculata In Western Taylor Co., Florida

By Harry G. Lee

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    To the amazement of the writer and Ed Cavin, the empty shells of a large (16 mm.) Liptooth snail began to appear as we gathered up the more abundant “bones” of Daedalocheila hausmani, half that size, along a parched swale aside US Highway 98 just east of the Aucilla River in the Florida Panhandle. Knowing living material was essential for optimal understanding of the systematic position of this species and applying our new-gained insight (see: Panhandling For Liptooths) into specialized ecological niches, we were able to find living examples of both taxa deep in thistle “hearts.” Although most of these were juvenile, one adult was obtained  (see images below).

    These shells (image, left) are indistinguishable from topotypes of Daedalochila auriculata (Say, 1818) (see:  D. auriculata page two) from St. Johns Co., 150 miles to the east! Furthermore, self-collected specimens in my collection from Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Flagler, Putnam, Alachua, Volusia, Brevard, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Orange, Marion, Polk, Hernando, Sumter, Levy, Dixie and Lafayette Cos. are essentially identical to all of these. On the other hand. the pallor of the animal (images below) contrasts sharply; see D. auriculata page three and D. auriculata live specimen . This lack of pigmentation may be an adaption to extreme sun-exposure; see D. uvulifera (Shuttleworth, 1852) Peninsula Liptooth page two and D. uvulifera page three for a parallel phenomenon in that species.

    As with all living material taken on this expedition during the second week in August, 2007, relaxed snails were placed in 70% ethanol for dissection and other animals were promptly placed in 95% ethanol for molecular systematics work at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Taylor Co., Florida Live Daedalochila auriculata

Taylor Co., Florida Live Daedalochila auriculata

Taylor Co., Florida Live Daedalochila auriculata