A field guide to Kenyan mangroves

 

Terebralia palustris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Family: Potamididae

Zone: Lower levels of A. marina to R. mucronata, C. tagal and mixed zones (Slim et al., 1997; Fratini et al., 2000).

Habitat: Forest floor.

Food: Omnivorous: detritus, leaves, propagules, carrion (Soemodihardjo and Kastoro, 1977; Nishihira, 1983; Rambabu et al., 1987; Slim et al., 1997; Dahdouh-Guebas et al., 1998; Fratini et al., 2000; Gillikin, 2000).

Ecological notes: Can occur in high densities: 130 ind./m2 in Indonesia (Soemodihardjo and Kastoro, 1977), 33 Ind./m2 with an average length of 45 mm in Gazi Bay, Kenya (Slim et al., 1997) and 31 Ind./m2 with an average length of 98 mm in Dabaso, Mida Creek, Kenya (based on an average of three plots at one site with relatively high density of individuals) (Gillikin, 2000). They are mobile substrate for oysters and other biofouling organisms (Houbrick, 1991; Gillikin, 2000). They have been shown to consume up to 3.2 g WW R. stylosa leaf litter /snail/day in Japan (Nishihira, 1983) and are important grazers in Gazi Bay, Kenya (Slim et al., 1997). As they are such effective grazers and prefer areas under the canopy of mangrove trees (Crowe, 1997; Crowe and McMahon, 1997) and muddy substrate to sandy substrate (Rambabu et al., 1987), they may be important competitors with crabs in certain areas within the mangrove (Slim et al., 1997; Dahdouh-Guebas et al., 1998; Fratini et al., 2000) and consume a considerable amount of leaf litter (Fratini et al., 2004).

Distinguishing characteristics: They are large snails, up to 190 mm in length (Houbrick, 1991), but about 10-13 cm in Kenya (Fratini et al., 2000)..

Geographical range: Indo-Pacific: Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia and East Africa (see refs below).


T. palustris of various sizes and Uca annulipes amongst A. marina pneumatophores

References:

Crowe, T.P. and R.F. McMahon, 1997. "The distribution of Terebralia palustris (Linne) with respect to microhabitat in mangrove forests of Darwin Harbour. II: Experimental evaluation of behaviour." In: Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biological Workshop. The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia, edited by J.R. Hanley, G. Caswell, D. Megirian & H.K. Larson, Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory and the Australian Marine Sciences Association, pp. 435-443.

Crowe, T.P., 1997. "The distribution of Terebralia palustris (Linne) with respect to microhabitat in mangrove forests of Darwin Harbour. I: Description of patterns." In: Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biological Workshop. The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia, edited by J.R. Hanley, G. Caswell, D. Megirian & H.K. Larson, Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory and the Australian Marine Sciences Association, pp. 425-433.

Dahdouh-Guebas, F., M. Verneirt, J.F. Tack, D. Van Speybroeck and N. Koedam, 1998. "Propagule predators in Kenyan Mangroves and their possible effects on regeneration." Marine and Freshwater Research 49:345-350.

Fratini, S., S. Cannicci and M. Vannini, 2000. Competition and interaction between Neosarmatium smithi (Crustacea: Grapsidae) and Terebralia palustris (Mollusca: Gastropoda) in a Kenyan mangrove. Marine Biology 137(2): 309-316.

Fratini, S., V. Vigiani, M. Vannini, S. Cannicci, 2004. Terebralia palustris (Gastropoda; Potamididae) in a Kenyan mangal: size structure, distribution and impact on the consumption of leaf litter. Marine Biology 144(6): 1173-1182.

Gillikin, D.P., 2000. Factors controlling the distribution of Kenyan brachyuran mangrove crabs: Salinity tolerance and ecophysiology of two Kenyan Neosarmatium species. M.Sc. Thesis, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium.

Nishihira, M., 1983. "Grazing of the mangrove litters by Terebralia palustris (Gastropoda: Potamididae) in the Okinawan mangal: Preliminary report." Galaxea 2: 45-58.

Rambabu, A.V.S., B.V. Prasad and M. Balaparameswara Roa, 1987. "Response of the mangrove mudsnail Terebralia palustris (Linnaeus) (Prosobranchia: Potamididae) to different substrata." Journal of the Marine Biology Association of India 29(1-2): 140-143.

Slim, F.J., M.A. Hemminga, C. Ochieng, N.T. Jannink, E. Cocheret de la Morinière and G. van der Velde, 1997. "Leaf litter removal by the snail Terebralia palustris (Linnaeus) and sesarmid crabs in an East African mangrove forest (Gazi Bay, Kenya)." J. Exp. Mar Bio Ecol 215: 35-48.

Soemodihardjo, S. and W. Kastoro, 1977. "Notes on the Terebralia palustris (Grastropoda) from the coral islands in the Jakarta Bay area." Marine Research in Indonesia 18: 131-148.

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all text and photographs copyright© 2002 David Gillikin and Anouk Verheyden
Created 05 January 2000

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