Patera pennsylvanica


As the map demonstrates, Patera pennsylvanica has been found in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan and Ontario (Encyclopedia of Life 2012). According to Jeffrey C. Nekola (2009) the shell of P. pennsylvanica found in Ontario is very similar to Mesodon mitchellianus, meaning the finding in Ontario needs further study, particularly of the genitalia, for a conclusion to be reached.  Patera pennsylvanica also reaches into Southern Wisconsin (Nekola 2009). 

According to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), there are 175 different reports of this species, 174 of them within the United States and only one in Canada.  This site even gives the coordinates, county and state as well as provides a map pinpointing the location.  When searching through some of these reports, I found that these snails were mainly found under leaf litter, grass or logs, and sometimes they were found at the bases of bluffs (GBIF 2007).  Patera pennsylvanica may also be found in ravines or wooded hillsides (Pilsbry 1940).

Information on their ecological niche was lacking, so this is just a little bit of information on snail ecology.  Terrestrial snails are important for calcium cycling within the food chain (Hotopp 2005).  The main ingredient in their shells is calcium carbonate, so they extract calcium from their food sources in order to maintain their shells (Hotopp 2005).  When predators eat terrestrial snails, or just their shells, the calcium gets passed through the food chain (Hotopp 2005).  Because of their slow movement (Hotopp and Pearce 2006), terrestrial snails have a wide array of predators, including other snails as well as humans.  They are eaten by firefly larvae, beetle larvae, birds, nematodes, and many other animals (Hotopp 2005).  

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