Oreohelix neomexicana - H. A. Pilsbry, 1905
Oscura Mountain Land Snail
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Oreohelix socorroensis Pilsbry, 1905 (TSN 77692)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.113104
Element Code: IMGASB5530
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Terrestrial Snails
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Gastropoda Stylommatophora Oreohelicidae Oreohelix
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Metcalf, A.L. and R.A. Smartt. 1997. Land snails of New Mexico. Bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, 10: 1-145.
Concept Reference Code: B97MET01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Oreohelix neomexicana
Taxonomic Comments: Metcalf and Smartt (1997) elevated Oreohelix neomexicana to species status from a subspecies of Oreohelix yavapai. Metcalf and Smartt (1997) also designated Oreohelix yavapai compacta Cockerell, 1905, and Oreohelix socorroensis Pilsbry, 1905, as subspecies of O. neomexicana.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Feb2006
Global Status Last Changed: 13Oct2005
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Nation: United States
National Status: N3 (13Oct2005)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States New Mexico (S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 250-5000 square km (about 100-2000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Found from north-central New Mexico, in foothill regions of southern Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains, southward through the Sandia and Manzano Mountains, to Gallinas Peak in northwestern Lincoln Co., New Mexico. Also found farther south along crest of Oscura Mountains, Socorro Co. (Sullivan, 1997; Metcalf and Smartt, 1997) and in the Sacramento Mountains (Brian Lang, pers. comm., February 2006).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: 19 sites in Oscura Mountains (Sullivan, 1997).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Appears to have become extirpated over most of the southern half of its former distribution, apparently during Holocene so Oscura Mountains represents a relict endemic population (Sullivan, 1997).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (250-5000 square km (about 100-2000 square miles)) Found from north-central New Mexico, in foothill regions of southern Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains, southward through the Sandia and Manzano Mountains, to Gallinas Peak in northwestern Lincoln Co., New Mexico. Also found farther south along crest of Oscura Mountains, Socorro Co. (Sullivan, 1997; Metcalf and Smartt, 1997) and in the Sacramento Mountains (Brian Lang, pers. comm., February 2006).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States NM

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NM Otero (35035)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
13 Tularosa Valley (13050003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Shrubland/chaparral
Habitat Comments: Occur only in specific microhabitats associated with pinon-juniper-oak vegetation and primarily north and northeastern exposures (Sullivan, 1997). Note this is different from the habitat given in Metcalf and Smartt (1997).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Terrestrial Snails

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on some evidence of historical or current presence of single or multiple specimens, including live specimens or recently dead shells (i.e., soft tissue still attached without signs of external weathering or staining), at a given location with potentially recurring existence. Weathered shells constitute a historic occurrence. Evidence is derived from reliable published observation or collection data; unpublished, though documented (i.e. government or agency reports, web sites, etc.) observation or collection data; or museum specimen information.
Separation Barriers: Barriers include barriers to dispersal such as the presence of permanent water bodies greater than 30 m in width, permanently frozen areas (e.g. mountaintop glaciers) which generally lack land snails (Frest and Johannes, 1995), or dry, xeric areas with less than six inches precipitation annually, as moisture is required for respiration and often hatching of eggs. For the various slugs and slug-like species (families Arionidae, Philomycidae, Limacidae, Milacidae, Testacellidae, Veronicellidae), absence of suitable moisture, except for the most ubiquitous of species such as Deroceras reticulatum (Müller, 1774), can serve as a barrier to movement (Frest and Johannes, 1995). Members of these groups tend to have greater difficulty crossing areas of little moisture than other pulmonates. For tree snails (family Bulimulidae [= Orthalicidae]), lack of appropriate arboreal habitat (e.g. distance of greater than 500 m) also serves as a separation barrier.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 1 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: None
Separation Justification: Burch and Pearce (1990) suggest refuges may be the most important factor limiting terrestrial snail abundance, although the greatest richness of species among carbonate cliff habitats (one of the most diverse in North America) is associated with calcareous, as opposed to acidic, substrates (Nekola, 1999; Nekola and Smith, 1999). The panmictic unit (a local population in which matings are random) is small relative to those of other animal groups because terrestrial snails tend to be more sedentary. Baker (1958) claimed, "long-distance dispersal of terrestrial gastropods is undoubtedly passive" although short distance dispersal is active involving slow, short distance migration under favorable conditions. Long-distance passive migration is not considered when assigning separation distances, as otherwise separation distances for many animals and plants would be made impracticably large. Passive migration of snails on terrestrial mammals, birds, or insects may occur over longer distances may occur across barriers. Passive migration also may occur by wind or by rafting on floating objects (Vagvolgyi, 1975). A third form of passive migration may occur through human activity such as transport as food, with consumed goods, or for biological control of other organisms.

Terrestrial gastropods do not move much usually only to find food or reproduce. Olfaction is the primary sensory behavior utilized to find and move toward a food item (on the scale of cm to m) although Atkinson (2003) found that Anguispira alternata was capable of switching foraging behavior when snails encountered a physical barrier to movement. Fisher et al (1980) reported maximum movement rate of Rumina decollata (Linnaeus, 1758), an introduced pest species in California spreading relatively rapidly (for a snail), to be 20 m in three months (= 6.67 m/month) in an irrigated orchard. Tupen and Roth (2001) reported the movement rate for the same species in an un-irrigated native scrub on San Nicolas Island to be 0.4 km in 12 years (= 33.33 m/month). South (1965) found in dispersal studies of the slug, Deroceras reticulatum, that slugs traveled a mean distance of 1.13 m in seven days indicating this species disperses little throughout its life. Giokas and Mylonas (2004) found mean dispersal and minimal movement distances were very small (16.2 and 5.4 m, respectively) for Albinaria coerulea, with few individuals dispersing longer distances. Even the most extreme dispersal distances, such as 500 m for the giant African land snail Achatina fulica (Tomiyama and Nakane, 1993), do not approach the scale of km. Viable land snail populations generally occupy small areas. Frest and Johannes (1995) report the largest Oreohelix colony they observed was one mile (1.67 km) long and 0.25 miles (0.41 km) wide while the smallest was six feet (183 cm) long and two feet (61 cm) wide.

As a whole, pulmonates (previously Subclass Pulmonata) are better dispersers than prosobranchs (previously Subclass Prosobranchia) possibly due to their hermaphroditic reproduction increasing the chance of new colonization (Pilsbry, 1948). When compared with prosobranch families, pulmonates generally reproduce at smaller sizes and sooner, produce greater numbers of eggs/young, have larger clutch sizes, greater growth rates, and shorter life cycles (Brown, 1991). Further, prosobranchs' requirement of constant moisture for oxygen exchange limits their ability to colonize drier habitats. Suitable habitat for pulmonate groups tends to be more varied and less restrictive than for prosobranch groups. All of these factors contribute to pulmonates greater dispersal capability over prosobranchs, as evidenced by the wider and more varied distribution of pulmonates over prosobranchs. Despite this, separation distance for both groups is set at the minimum one km as most movements are well within this suggested minimum separation distance.

Date: 26May2004
Author: Cordeiro, J.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 06Feb2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 13Oct2005
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Lang, B.K. 2000. Status and distribution of terrestrial snails of southern New Mexico. Completion report (E-36) to the Division of Federal Aid, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Albequereeque, New Mexico, November 2000. 10 pp. + app.

  • Metcalf, A.L. and R.A. Smartt. 1997. Land snails of New Mexico. Bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, 10: 1-145.

  • Pilsbry, H.A. 1905. Mollusca of the southwestern states. I. Urocoptideae; Helicidae of Arizona and New Mexico. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 67: 323-350.

  • Sullivan, R.M. 1997. Inventory of some terrestrial snails of southern New Mexico, with emphasis on state listed and federal candidate species of Dona Ana, Otero, and Socorro Counties. Unpoublished report prepared for Endangered Species Program, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Santa Fe, New Mexico. 91 pp.

  • Turgeon, D.D., J.F. Quinn, Jr., A.E. Bogan, E.V. Coan, F.G. Hochberg, W.G. Lyons, P.M. Mikkelsen, R.J. Neves, C.F.E. Roper, G. Rosenberg, B. Roth, A. Scheltema, F.G. Thompson, M. Vecchione, and J.D. Williams. 1998. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Mollusks. 2nd Edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 26, Bethesda, Maryland: 526 pp.

  • Worthington, R.D. and A.L. Metcalf. 1997. Additions to the present and Quaternary gastropod faunas of the Franklin Mountains, El Paso Co., Texas. The Southwestern Naturalist 42(4):471-477.

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