Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail

The Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail (Novisuccinea chittenangoensis) is federally threatened and endangered.  Its range in the wild is restricted to a single waterfall in New York state, although in the early 1900′s it was more widespread and abundant.  The waterfall that is home to these rare snails is within the Chittenango State Park.  The snails prefer moist and humid conditions, vegetated slopes near the waterfall, and feed primarily on algae.  Since the accidental introduction of an exotic snail in 1984 the snails have been outcompeted for resources and their population size was severely reduced to less than 25 snails in 1990.  The non-native Succinea snail outnumbers the native Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail 50:1.


Project Title: Population size and habitat use of the federally-threatened Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail (Novisuccinea chittenangoensis) and its competitive interactions with a non-native snail (Succinea spp. B)

Summary:
This research focuses on the federally-threatened and New York State endangered Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail (Novisuccinea chittenangoensis) and a closely-related non-native species (Succinea spp. B) (COAS and Spp B, respectively) that together occur in the spray zone of the waterfall at Chittenango Falls State Park. The work has three main components: mark-recapture survey of COAS, habitat use surveys of COAS and Spp B, and competition experiment between COAS and Spp B. These research helps to redress the lack of knowledge in three key areas of the species’ ecology that are important for its conservation: population size and viability, habitat requirements, and interactions with Spp B. From a practical standpoint, the work directly and indirectly addresses management actions outlined in the COAS recovery plan of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Location: Chittenango, New York

Timeline: ongoing since 1996

Principal investigators:
Steven P. Campbell, Jacqueline L. Frair, and James P. Gibbs, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, New York, USA

Funding:
New York State Dept. Environmental Conservation

Contact:
James P. Gibbs, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY 13210 USA, jpgibbs@esf.edu, 315/470-6764

For more information / Source:
The NY State DEC: fact sheet on the Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail