Książkiewicz-Parulska Z.


Whorl snails are superfamily associating tiny land snail species. Most of them demand a high (or very high) humidity for life and reproduction. Therefore, vertiginids may be usually found dwelling in wetlands, humid meadows, or woodlands. Alterations in the natural environment resulting from a human interference and climate crises contributed toward heat waves and droughts. The extreme weather events deteriorate whorl’s snails habitats conditions. High temperatures and reduction of water availability may be also a direct threat for snails affecting their activity (including foraging and reproduction) and increasing mortality rates due to exceeded physiological limits. A range contraction of some Vertigo species is already noticeable. However, the behavioural reactions of individuals and its consequences for whorl’s snails’ population survival in the climatic crisis are poorly explored. Facing a temperature stress and a drought land snails exhibit behavioural responses aimed at reducing negative effects of overheating and dehydration. Confronting the irritants or life-threatening conditions gastropods usually hide in the shell and stay there till the environmental conditions will improve. The aim of my study was to examine some behavioural reactions of whorl snails for different temperatures (6°C, 11°C, 21°C and 36°C) and humidity (30%, 100%) for snails’ activity. The studies were carried out for three species: Vertigo angustior, Vertigo moulinsiana and Vertigo antivertigo, two of which are threatened across Europe and are listed in the annex II of the EU Habitat Directive. Results of my investigations shown different reactions of the studied species and age classes for temperatures and humidity.

Summarizing, the climate change may have a diversified impact on the Vertigo species, generating different behavioural responses. Developing the knowledge on the behavioural traits of vertiginids may be helpful for explaining current population trends of European whorls snails.