All well with you, I hope?
Hi SLS Members,
Apologies for my extended absence.
I have had the flu and so haven't been in work for a week, then had a bit of catching up to do when I returned.
I found out about an snail project called 'Marvellous Mud Snails' on the Buglife website.
The project aims to create a healthier population of the Pond Mud Snail (Omphiscola glabra) in Scotland.
The Pond Mud Snail is small at 12-20mm in length, with an elongated, conical brown shell.
In February, they lay egg masses of 10-30 eggs, which take up to 25 days to hatch.
The Pond Mud Snail is known from only 7 sites in Scotland, all in different local authority areas including Clackmannanshire, East Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, West Lothian, Scottish Borders, Midlothian and Falkirk.
In the past, this snail was found all across lowland England and Wales and was recorded as far north as Perth.
The snail requires small, temporary, nutrient-poor pools, which are rarely protected and are seen as inferior habitats that are difficult to manage.
However, these habitats also support other scarce species, such as the Oxbow Diving Beetle (Hydroporus rufifrons). Like the Pond Mud Snail, this beetle is specially adapted to survive periodic drought by burying itself into the mud and becoming inactive until the habitat becomes wet again.
The snails are in decline due to loss or degradation of temporary ponds through infilling, conversion of pools into productive agricultural land, the improvement of sites visually for landscape purposes, pollution from agricultural run-off, encroachment of scrub and the enlargement of small ponds to make permanent water bodies.
Incomplete knowledge of the distrubution of the Pond Mud Snail has inhibited its conservation and this is partially due to living in under-recorded habitats.
The species is classified as Vulnerable in the UK Red Data Books and is on the Scottish Biodiversity List.
'Marvellous Mud Snails' aims to do three things to help the conservation of the species in Scotland:
Educate - raise the profile of the species through events with schools and community groups.
Pond Mud Snail Survey - Buglife aims to increase current knowledge of the species' distribution in Scotland by working with schools and volunteers to look for and record the species. They will be surveying old sites, potential new sites and areas that the snails were once found in.
Captive Breeding Programme - schools will have the chance to get involved with a captive breeding programme to help boost numbers of the snail.
You can read the full article here: https://www.buglife.org.uk/local/marvellous-mud-snails
and more about Pond Mud Snails here https://www.buglife.org.uk/bugs-and-habitats/pond-mud-snail
I hope you've recovered now pbff.
I wonder if there are more snails in my pond than those I've seen, maybe a delve when the weather warms up
I am much better now, thank you nutcutlet.
It's amazing what can be found in ponds and pools - they may look murky, but they're a whole new world!
Indeed, we have pond dipped and looked through the microscope, fascinating.