Lifestyle and Adaptations

 Not much information is available about the specific biology and the history of Mystery Vertigo. Looking at land snails together, we know that they require adequate moisture, shelter, a food supply, and a source of calcium to maintain their shell (Sterki, 2007). These factors can cause a land snail to display limited dispersal and patchy distribution because of a sensitivity to environmental conditions (Sterki, 2007). Such environmental conditions that could play a role are temperature, moisture, and other activities that may alter the land, such as fire, mining, or grazing (Anderson, 2004).




            Fire can greatly diminish the species population.

   Because of the patchy distribution that can be caused by many factors, some populations of land snails that are a kilometer apart or less, could be considered isolated individuals (Anderson, 2004).
   Water is required by land snails for basic physiological processes, such as locomotion and reproduction. Most of the land snails can minimize their water loss by closing their shell opening with an operculum (Sterki, 2007). The ability of a land snail to do this helps them survive dry conditions when water is not readily available (Sterki, 2007).


 Snails require calcium to maintain their shells. Because of this, snails are most commonly found in habitats that are rich in calcium (Sterki, 2007). Some areas where calcium is abundant is in limestone, in areas that have soil that is derived from limestone, or areas that have high levels of calcium carbonate (Sterki, 2007). Some snails are found in areas where the calcium content in the soil is poor and it is believed that the snail acquires the calcium needed from the local vegetation around them (Sterki, 2007). In this case, the snails would scrape rocks, other snail shells or ingest soil in order to obtain the calcium they needed (Sterki, 2007). Another way that calcium can be obtained by the snail is through calcium dissolved in water that the snail can get by drinking or absorbing the water through their skin (Sterki, 2007).

Mii Photos.


Availability of adequate shelter or refuge is also extremely important to land snails. Burch and Pearce (1990) have suggested that the most limiting factor limiting the abundance of land snails is refuges (Sterki, 2007). Refuge can  provide shelter from cold and hot weather conditions as well as protection from predators. Refuge can include leaf litter, rotting logs and other woody debris, rocks, and under the soil surface. Most land snails also survive the winter underground or under rocks, logs, and boards (Sterki, 2007).

     Woody debris provides good refuge for land snails.


 Vertigo paradoxa, among some other land snails, have shown to respond strongly to differences in soil depth and composition (Nekola, 2003). It has been found that other land snails in the Great Lakes region, including the Mystery Vertigo, prefer soils that have a more loose upper soil under a deep organic layer (Sterki, 2007). Along with soil depth and composition, different snail species prefer different amounts of ground cover, with Vertigo species found in a variety of the different categories (Nekola 2002 in Anderson 2004).

          Soil with duff for protection.               

 Some of the other primary factors that are regulating or influencing snail activity are temperature, moisture, and light intensity (Sterki, 2007). Land snails may be active during the day following rain, even though land snails are primarily nocturnal (Sterki, 2007). It has also been seen that land snails respond to a high relative humidity and cooler temperatures by becoming more active, as most land snails do not move too much other than to find food or to reproduce (Sterki, 2007). Migration is most commonly seen only under favorable environmental conditions because land snails tend to migrate fairly slowly over a very short distance (Sterki, 2007).


                     Light intensity can influence snail activity.


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