The Roswell springsnail (Pyrgulopsis roswellensis) is an aquatic species in the Hydrobiidae family of mud snails. The genus Pyrgulopsis is one of the most abundant and varied types of aquatic life native to the American Southwest. The Roswell springsnail lives in wetland sinkhole and spring-fed habitat in caves and karsts, and was federally listed as endangered in 2005 due to its limited distribution, low mobility, fragmentation of habitat, and threats such as surface and groundwater contamination and depletion.
Roswell springsnail sounds have not been identified or recorded.
No recorded weight measurements for Roswell springsnail are available at this time.
The body of the Roswell springsnail is soft, with a muscular foot, a visceral mass, eyes, and tentacles that protrude from their head region. They live within cone-shaped shells made of calcium carbonate that become increasingly narrow towards the top. These shells have one valve that regulates the springsnail's air and fluid, and are formed by secretion from glands in their body wall. Shell lengths range from 3 to 3.5 millimeters (0.12 to 0.14 inches) long, and females are characteristically larger.
The shells of Roswell springsnails are spiral-patterned, tan colored, and narrowly conical in shape. Roswell springsnails have an amber colored operculum with white spiral streaks. This is a diagnostic feature that can be used to distinguish the species from Koster’s springsnails (Juturnia kosteri), whose operculum has practically no color.
Roswell springsnails have recorded lifespans ranging from 9 to 15 months. Most individuals live for less than one year, and females are longer-lived than males.
Hydrobiid snails are sexually dimorphic and the male copulatory organ, known as a verge, projects from the neck area and does not retract. Resource abundance and productivity are regulating factors in other similar snail populations, where increased competition for limited food resources has reduced fertility and juvenile survival. Trematode (internal parasites) infestation and parasitic castration may also regulate reproduction and influence population size.
Roswell springsnails breed seasonally from March through September. They are ovoviviparous, meaning they produce eggs that hatch in the body of the parent, usually the female. Population recruitment is continuous throughout the breeding season, because production of live young is serial rather than in broods. Individual snails may reproduce several times during the spring through fall.
The Roswell springsnail and Koster's springsnail have overlapping range and similar looking shells. Roswell springsnails can be distinguished from Koster’s springsnails by an amber colored operculum (a lid closing the opening of the shell when the snail is retracted) with white spiral streaks, while the operculum of Koster’s springsnail is nearly colorless.
Roswell springsnails find their food on underwater surfaces; their diet consists primarily of algae, bacteria, and fungi, and may also contain dead organic, plant and animal material.
Roswell springsnails are equipped with internal gills to survive aquatic habitats. They have been observed to be most active during twilight; this is believed to be related to the white gypsum composition of the habitat in which they're studied. In laboratory conditions the species is active throughout the day as well, though mainly twilight.
Roswell springsnails occur in small, geographically isolated spring-fed habitats set in desert grasslands with gypsum cave and karst features. These systems have permanent, flowing water with natural levels of variation, minimum amounts of contaminants, fluctuating temperatures, and slow to moderate flow velocities. Roswell springsnails have been found in abundance on hard, gypsum surfaces in outflow channels and pools, and the type of substance found in habitats may be an important determining characteristic, similar for other aquatic snails.
Ecosystem with large, flat areas of grasses.
Area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.
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