Gyraulus (Gyraulus crenophilus)

GenusGyraulus (1)
SizeShell diameter: up to 7 mm (2) (3)

Gyraulus crenophilus is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

Gyraulus crenophilus is a species of snail in the Planorbidae family, members of which have a shell that is disc-like and flattened in appearance (4) (5).

The shell of Gyraulus crenophilus has 3.5 to 4 whorls, the last of which is smoothly rounded, and the shell is marked with fine, spiral lines (2). This species has a moderate umbilicus, and the shell is often covered in algae. The body of Gyraulus crenophilus is grey to blackish (2), and the tentacles, which are long and slender in members of the Planorbidae family (3), are usually densely pigmented (2).

Gyraulus crenophilus is endemic to Lake Ohrid in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) (2), and also occurs in springs that feed into the lake, some of which are located in Albania (1).

Gyraulus crenophilus is a freshwater species, only inhabiting the edge or springs of Lake Ohrid, where it can be found on stones and rocks (1) (2). This species has a preference for a constant water temperature of 12 to 13 degrees Celsius (2).

There is little available information on the biology of Gyraulus crenophilus. However, members of the Planorbidae family are known to be hermaphroditic, with an individual snail possessing both male and female sexual organs (4). Planorbidae are pulmonates, meaning that they can breathe air, which enables some members of the family to survive generally unfavourable, low-oxygen conditions. Planorbidae species can also absorb oxygen directly from the water (4).

The diet of most Planorbidae species consists of plant matter, with some species feeding on fresh plants and algae, and others feeding on decaying plant matter (4) (6).

A restricted range species, Gyraulus crenophilus is vulnerable to alterations to its habitat (1). A number of pollutants are currently entering the streams and lake where Gyraulus crenophilus is present, including sewage from nearby cities, agricultural contaminants and an increasing amount of sediment due to deforestation in the catchment area of these water bodies. Over-extraction of water is also having a negative impact on this species in some parts of its range (1).

There are currently no known conservation measures in place for Gyraulus crenophilus, although monitoring and careful habitat management are suggested actions to conserve this rare snail (1).

Find out more about Gyraulus crenophilus:

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  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2011)
  2. AnimalBase - Gyraulus crenophilus (December, 2011)
  3. Brown, D. (2005) Freshwater Snails of Africa and their Medical Importance. Taylor & Francis, London.
  4. Baker, F.C. (1945) The Molluscan Family Planorbidae. The University of Illinois Press, Urbana.
  5. Oscoz, J., Galicia, D. and Miranda, R. (Eds.) (2011) Identification of Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Spain. Springer, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London and New York.
  6. Recknadel, F. (Ed.) (2003) Ecological Informatics: Understanding Ecology by Biologically-Inspired Computation. Springer, Berlin and Heidelberg.