Common Name
FISH SPRINGS MARSHSNAIL

Scientific Name
STAGNICOLA PILSBRYI

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Utah Taxonomy

Hemphill (1890), who named and described this species, placed it in the genus "Limnaea" (= Lymnaea). Baker (1911) assigned the species to the genus Galba. Most modern authors (e.g., Taylor et al. 1963, Russell 1971) have arranged it as a species of Stagnicola. Taylor et al. (1963) demonstrated that, within Stagnicola, the species belongs to the subgenus Hinkleyia. Clarke (1991) argued that the species should be assigned to the genus Bakerilymnaea; he called this species the Fish Springs lymnaeid.

No subspecies have been proposed in this species (i.e., the species is monotypic).

Status in Utah

There is one historical occurrence of this species, now considered to be extinct. Hemphill (1890) stated the type locality as "Fish Spring, Nevada". Baker (1911) expanded Hemphill's locality to "Type Locality: Fish Spring, Nye County, Nevada" and "Nevada : Fish Springs, Nye Co., in approximately lat. 38.45, long. 116.30 ...". Taylor et al. (1963) commented: "Hemphill's label with the type says 'Fish Spring Nevada between Austin and Salt Lake', thus ruling out the locality specified by Baker. Most probably Hemphill collected at Fish Springs, northern Juab County, Utah ...." The opinion that Fish Springs, Juab County, Utah, is the locality where Hemphill collected the first specimens of this species has been followed by others (e.g., Russell 1971, Clarke 1991); it is also the only locality from which others since Hemphill have collected specimens of the species, all of these specimens being dead, empty shells.

This species is believed no longer to be extant. Taylor et al. (1963) wrote: "Only three specimens of this species are known, all from the original lot collected by Henry Hemphill in 1868. ... The bleached periostracum and the dirt inside the aperture shows that all three were collected as empty shells. Hemphill's label notes 'These are the best I can do for you. I have but two or three others ...'. These additional specimens have not been traced." Russell (1971) reported: "In all, 134 complete shells and 30 fragmented specimens of this species were collected [in 1970] on the surface of the ground ...." Apparently Russell found no living representatives of this species, which Clarke (1991) believed was already extinct when Russell surveyed the molluscan fauna of Fish Springs.

If some remnant of a population has survived undetected at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, current management practices at the refuge would include very serious threats to the species. Clarke (1991) wrote: "Overmanagement for the purpose of enhancing duck habitat appears to have caused the extinction of this species." Russell (1971) noted that the only place where he found remains of this species at Fish Springs "had recently been drained and burned over", and Clarke (1991) believed that "annual burning of the area to increase duck nesting habitat and the fostering of dense duck populations may well have been important factors which contributed to this extinction." Thus, the threat that ultimately led to the extinction of this species is thought to have been the alteration of the marsh habitat of the species.

Careful inventory of Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge in a further attempt to rediscover a living population of this species is needed, and searches of any potentially suitable nearby sites that may have escaped the management that led to the extirpation of the species at Fish Springs N. W. R. would be worthwhile.

Habitats Utilized in Utah

Taylor et al. (1963) wrote: "Nothing is known of the habitat of Stagnicola pilsbryi. From the fact that it is a narrowly localized species, whereas its close relatives are widespread, one might infer it has some ecological specialization." Russell (1971), although he apparently did not find living examples of this species, which probably was already extinct by the time he visited Fish Springs in 1970, evidently believed that the species was extant and speculated: "From the location in which the shells were found, it appears that S. pilsbryi lives in a shallow, semipermanent marsh. Although burned over, this area was covered with the remains of emergent marsh grasses." Clarke (1991) wrote: "This species occurred in an isolated group of springs, in a scrub desert environment ...."

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.

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