Common Name
PROTEAN PHYSA

Scientific Name
PHYSELLA VIRGATA

View Utah Distribution Map

  

Utah Taxonomy

Several authors (e.g., Woodbury 1929, Chamberlin and Berry 1929, and Chamberlin and Jones 1929) have discussed this species in Utah under the name in current use, Physella virgata. Others (e.g., Chamberlin and Berry 1930, Jones 1940a, Woolstenhulme 1942a, 1942b, Chamberlin and Roscoe 1948, and Russell 1971) have treated it as Physa virgata. Russell (1971) noted: "Whether or not Physa virgata is a valid species or represents an eastern species remains to be seen." Taylor (1986) has called this species in Utah Physa squalida, which he asserted "includes P. virgata as a synonym." It is likely that other names were used in discussing this species in Utah prior to 1929, but, without reexamination of specimens, such names may not be recognizable as synonyms of Physella virgata now.

Chamberlin and Jones (1929) applied the common name the striped physella to this species.

The subspecies that occurs in Utah is probably the type race Physella virgata virgata. It is also likely that the race Physella virgata berendti is represented in Utah, and it is possible that the race Physella virgata concolor may also be present in this state.

Status in Utah

This species is known, at least historically, from scattered localities throughout Utah. It has been reported from 18 localities in 12 counties: Washington County (Woodbury 1929, Chamberlin and Jones 1929, Jones 1940a), Iron County (Chamberlin and Jones 1929), Salt Lake County (Chamberlin and Jones 1929), Cache County (Chamberlin and Jones 1929), San Juan County (Chamberlin and Berry 1929, Chamberlin and Jones 1929), Grand County (Chamberlin and Berry 1929, Chamberlin and Jones 1929), Carbon County (Chamberlin and Berry 1929, Chamberlin and Jones 1929), Wayne County (Chamberlin and Berry 1930), Juab County (Russell 1971), Tooele County (Woolstenhulme 1942a), Wasatch (Woolstenhulme 1942b), and Summit (Woolstenhulme 1942b).

Little in the way of useful abundance data has been reported for this species in Utah.

Although threats to this species in Utah have not been reported, the dewatering and the alteration of aquatic habitats have been and continue to be widespread and common practices in this state. Some of the bodies of water from which the species was reported historically in Utah may no longer even exist. Population trend in this species in Utah is not known.

Inventory is needed to ascertain whether the several historical occurrences still exist as well as to determine the full extent of the distribution and abundance of this species in Utah.

Habitats Utilized in Utah

Woodbury (1929) reported: "This fresh-water snail is found in most of the clear water streams, springs, and ditches of Dixie [i.e., southwestern Utah] which are not subjected to corrasive [sic] floods. It is especially abundant in those sluggish streams or ponds where green algae abounds [sic] and upon which it appears to feed." Russell (1971) wrote: "Occurrence at Fish Springs: Physa virgata is generally found in springs and canals. This is the most widespread [mollusk] species at Fish Springs."

Sources:

  • Text modified from: Oliver, George V. and William R. Bosworth III. 1999. Rare, imperiled, and recently extinct or extirpated mollusks of Utah[:] a literature review. Publication number 99-29. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City. 230 pp.

  •