Rare snail shows up on Portland

We're engaged in lots of non-marine mollusc work at the moment; some of it relating to professional projects; some of it simply in the name of voluntary biological recording. Winter is a time for compiling all those species records collected throughout the year, and sending them off to the relevant Local Records Centres (LRCs).

As part of ecological work at one site in Dorset, we collected some tiny British whorl snails, Truncatellina callicratis, earlier this year. Molluscs are a very under-recorded group, and all records are valuable.

T. callicratis is a rare species, limited to coastal grassland in three English counties: Devon, Dorset and the Isle of Wight. The National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Gateway shows only 17 records ever for this species in Dorset, and not much more than double that for the entire country.

Some of the Dorset records go back to the middle of the 19th century, and although most are 20th century, only three records have been made in the last ten years. Every snail record submitted to LRCs is important, especially for the rarer species.

photo: Truncatellina callicratis from Portland, Dorset. Each snail is about 2mm tall.