Molluscan Research Molluscan Research Society
An international journal for all branches of malacology

Observations on the behaviour of the Australian land snail Hedleyella falconeri (Grey, 1834) (Pulmonata : Caryodidae) using the spool-and-line tracking technique

M. J. Murphy

Molluscan Research 22(2) 149 - 164
Published: 03 September 2002


A brief field study of the Australian caryodid land snail Hedleyella falconeri (Gray, 1834), using the spool-and-line tracking method, provided detailed information concerning patterns of nocturnal movement and types of diurnal shelter site, as well as egg laying and foraging activities. Hedleyella falconeri was active on 74% of nights observed and, when active, moved an average of 8.70 m per night (maximum of 21.72 m in a single night), with an average straight-line displacement of 5.10 m per night (maximum of 13.96 m in a single night). Snails were more likely to be active and to move further in wet weather than dry weather. They appeared to be nomadic, moving randomly around the forest floor, with no homing behaviour observed and, contrary to preconceptions, no apparent active selection of secure diurnal shelter sites, such as beneath fallen timber. A description of diurnal shelter sites is provided, together with a description of the eggs and egg laying behaviour and observations on diet. The behaviour of H. falconeri is considered to reflect its equable rainforest habitat, with implications for its continued conservation. The present study demonstrates the considerable value of the spool-and-line tracking method in the field study of larger land snail species.

Keywords: diurnal shelter, egg laying, movement, rainforest.

© CSIRO 2002

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