Patera pennsylvanica

Interactions With Other Species

In many ecosystems there is a large quantity of molluscs (Kay 1995). In fact, the snail species Mesodon thyroidus that is classified in a similar genus to Patera is known to have a population of 63,330 snails per every 10,000 square meters in Illinois (Kay 1995). It is not too difficult to understand that a species with this size population affects and interacts with many organisms within its ecosystem, and in general snails in the family Polygyridae play a critical role in their ecosystems (Schuman 2002).

Indirectly, Pulmonates or land snails interact with other species through the production of soil and by cycling nutrients, both beneficial contributions to other species and the ecosystem as a whole (Kay 1995). Directly, land snails interact with other species through their nutritional habits that includes eating algae, plants, nematodes, and other snails (Hotopp and Pearce 2006). In terms of other species eating land snails, a common predator is Blarina brevicauda, the short-tailed shrew (Blinn 1963).

There are multiple studies that investigate the role of land snails as hosts for parasitic nematodes (Grewal et al. 2003). One of these nematode species named Parelaphostrongylus tenuis is a common parasite of white-tailed deer with a larval stage that takes place in terrestrial snails (Rowley et al. 1987). Results from a study from Virginia Commonwealth University reveal that Mesodon pennsylvanica is not an intermediate host for Parelaphostrongylus tenuis (Rowley et al. 1987). To clarify, Mesodon pennsylvanica is the same species as Patera pennsylvanica, the species name was recently changed (Encyclopedia of Life 2012). In this study only one Patera pennsylvanica was collected and examined for infection by Parelaphostrongylus tenuis, making it hard to draw conclusions on Patera pennsylvanica’s role as an intermediate host for this nematode species given the small sample size (Rowley et al. 1987).

Included with Patera pennsylvanica’s interactions with other species are the land snail’s interactions with humans. Unfortunately, humans generally have a negative effect on the livelihood of land snails mainly through habitat loss (Kay 1995). Mining, logging, and land clearing are three of the main human activities that destroy land snail habitats, all which are detrimental to land snail diversity (Kay 1995). In Canada Patera pennsylvanica is critically imperiled with a status rank of N1, meaning it is rare or vulnerable to extinction (Encyclopedia of Life 2012). Other threats to molluscs include non-native vegetation, predation, and over-collection (Kay 1995).

Economically, humans use shells of snails to sell bracelets and necklaces (Kay 1995).

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