Pleistocene Snail (Discus macclintocki)
Pleistocene snail is an endangered species. Endangered species
are animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct. Threatened
species are animals and plants that are likely to become endangered
in the foreseeable future. Identifying, protecting, and restoring endangered
and threatened species is the primary objective of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service's endangered species program.
is the Iowa Pleistocene Snail?
These small land snails are only about 1/4-inch in diameter.
Their shells are brown or greenish white.
The snails live in the leaf litter of special cool and
moist hillsides called algific talus slopes. Cool air and water, from
underground ice, flow out of cracks in the slopes and keep the ground
temperatures below 50 degrees F in summer and above 14 degrees F in
Iowa Pleistocene snails breed from late March to
August. Two to six eggs are laid among the leaf litter and hatch in
about 28 days. The snail's life span is about five to seven years.
The snails eat the fallen leaves of birch and maple
trees and dogwood shrubs.
These snails have only been found at about 30 sites in Iowa
and Illinois. Fossilized shells indicate they were once much more widespread
during cooler glacial periods.
Why is the Iowa
Pleistocene Snail endangered?
Habitat Loss or Degradation
The major long-term cause of snail population decline is climate change.
The most immediate habitat threats are from logging, quarrying, road
building, sinkhole filling and contamination, human foot traffic, livestock
grazing and trampling, and misapplication of pesticides.
is being done to prevent extinction of the Iowa Pleistocene snail?
The Iowa Pleistocene snail was listed as an endangered species in
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed
a recovery plan that describes actions that need to be taken to help
the snail survive.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state,
county, and private conservation agencies are all working to preserve
the snail and its habitat. Some private landowners have entered into
voluntary protection agreements.
can I do to prevent the extinction of species?
Learn more about the Iowa Pleistocene snail and other endangered
and threatened species. Understand how the destruction of habitat leads
to loss of endangered and threatened species and our nation's plant
and animal diversity. Tell others about what you have learned.
Join a conservation group; many have local chapters.