The round rocksnail is a member of the Pleuroceridae family and is the only surviving species of rocksnail in the Cahaba River drainage. This gill-breathing snail can be found attached to cobble, gravel or other hard substrates in the strong currents of shoals and riffles. This species is the most genetically similar to the painted rocksnail, as documented by C. Lydeard and others in 1997. In fact, some biologists speculate that these two species once belonged to a single species before their populations became isolated. These species are now geographically separated with round rocksnail in the Cahaba River drainage and with painted rocksnail in tributaries in the Coosa River drainage.
Location in Taxonomic Tree
Rocksnails are found attached to cobble, gravel or other hard substrates in the strong currents of shoals and riffles.
Pleurocerid snails are considered generalist scrapers and generally feed by ingesting periphyton, or attached algae, and biofilm detritus, meaning dead particulate organic material, scraped off the substrate by the snail’s radula. A radula is a horny band with minute teeth that snails use to pull food into the mouth, as described by J.B.T. Morales and A.K. Ward in 2000.
Color may be yellow, dark brown, or olive green, usually with four entire or broken bands.
The round rocksnail is a pleurocerid snail that has a subglobose shell, with an ovately rounded aperture or shell opening. The body whorl is shouldered at the suture and may be ornamented with folds or plicae.
Measurements:Length: 0.8 in (20 mm)
Little is known about the life history of the round rocksnail. Life span of the round rocksnail is unknown. However, a similar species found in the Tennessee River has a short life span of less than two years.
The round rocksnail was historically found in the Cahaba River and its tributary the Little Cahaba River and in the Coosa River and its tributaries Big Canoe Creek, Kelly Creek, Ohatchee Creek, Yellowleaf Creek and Waxahatchee Creek. The round rocksnail is currently found from a shoal series in the Cahaba River, from the lower reach of the Little Cahaba River, and from the lower reaches of Shade Creek and Six-mile Creek.
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