Lampedusa melitensis 

Scope: Global & Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Mollusca Gastropoda Stylommatophora Clausiliidae

Scientific Name: Lampedusa melitensis (Caruana Gatto, 1892)
Common Name(s):
English Maltese Door-snail
Clausilia melitensis Caruana Gatto, 1892
Taxonomic Source(s): Giusti, F., Manganelli, G. and Schembri, P.J. 1995. The non-marine molluscs of the Maltese Islands. Torino.
Taxonomic Notes:

It has been confirmed as a valid species through a morphological (shell characters and anatomy of the reproductive system) and genetic (sequencing of a fragment of the mitochondrial large ribosomal subunit 16S rRNA, and the nuclear internal transcriber spacer 1, ITS-1 rRNA) study (Giusti et al. 1995).

Identification information: Shell light yellowish grey, ribbed, 8-11 whorls, aperture detached and slightly protruded, columellaris almost completely inside and hardly visible in a perpendicular view, lunula very deep inside, no basalis, subcolumellaris invisible in the aperture, clausilium plate short.
Differs from L. imitatrix in its much less prominent columellaris, absence of a basalis and short clausilium plate. 12-18 x 3.2-4.8 mm.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-05-24
Assessor(s): Schembri, P.J. & De Mattia, W.
Reviewer(s): Gómez Moliner, B.J. & Martínez-Ortí, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Cálix, M.
This species is endemic to the Maltese Islands, where it occurs only on the island of Malta. The species is only known from one locality, on a section of the coastal cliffs (Rdum tal-Madliena; the Dingli Cliffs) on the western coast Malta, near Dingli, where it occurs on a few isolated boulders only. The population is estimated to be a few hundred individuals (Giusti et al. 1995). Given the very restricted area of occurrence and therefore the very small population size, and the evidence that there is a continuing decline in the area of occupancy (AOO) and the extent of habitat, the species is assessed as Critically Endangered (CR B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,iii)). Research is required to confirm the distribution, threats, population size and trend of this species. Frequent monitoring and a conservation plan are also needed.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Maltese Islands, where it occurs in a single locality on the cliffs of Rdum tal-Madliena (the Dingli Cliffs), near Dingli, in the western coast of Malta. The species is limited to a few large boulders lying on clay slopes at the foot of an escarpment of the sea-cliffs. These boulders have detached from the overlying cliff edge and form ‘islands’ of karstic rock surrounded by clay and non-karstic steppic habitat. There is evidence that the species used to occur on the karstic cliff edge but has been displaced from this habitat by another more competitive 'clausiliid' species: Muticaria macrostoma (or introgressed with this species). Currently, it only survives on boulders that became detached from the cliff edge before they were colonised by Muticaria (Thake 1985, Giusti et al. 1995).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:4Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:4
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:1
Lower elevation limit (metres):100
Upper elevation limit (metres):100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:No quantitative estimates have been made of the population size, but given the very restricted area of habitat, it is estimated to be a few hundred individuals. The population is assumed to have declined as originally used to occur on a karstic cliff edge but has been displaced by, or has introgressed with, Muticaria macrostoma, and now only survives on boulders that became detached from the cliff edge before they were colonised by Muticaria (Giusti et al. 1995).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is found on a few large boulders lying on clay slopes at the foot of an escarpment, part of the sea-cliffs, and these boulders are resting on clay that is susceptible to slumping and downhill sliding.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There may be some illegal collecting by shell collectors, but the scale of this, if it occurs, is not known.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is restricted to one locality where it is found in a very precarious habitat consisting of boulders lying on clay at the foot of an escarpment on the western sea-cliff coast of Malta. The boulders are subject to slumping and downhill sliding due to natural slope processes. It is also very susceptible to stochastic events due to its extremely reduced distribution. Also, displacement or introgression with Muticaria macrostoma seems to be an important threat to this species.

This is a protected species and is not in trade, although it was sought after by collectors in the past, and there may be some illegal collecting for shell collections. Given its very restricted distribution and precarious habitat, it is considered to occur at only one location.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This is a protected species, listed in Schedule II (Animal and plant species of Community interest whose conservation requires the designation of Special Areas of Conservation) and Schedule V (Animal and plant species of Community interest in need of strict protection) of the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations, 2006 (Government of Malta). It is also listed as a ‘priority species’ in Schedule II.

The species is also listed in Annex II and Annex IV of the European Union Habitats Directive. The present species is listed as a ‘priority species’ in Annex II. The prime threat to this species is the destruction of the habitat due primarily to natural causes (slope processes). There is a need to assess and understand this threat in order to take appropriate action for the conservation of the species. Surveys to determine the exact number, position and area of boulders where this species occurs are strongly suggested, as well as quantitative estimates of population size and studies on its basic biology.

The species occurs within the Rdumijiet ta' Malta: Ir-Ramla tac-Cirkewwa sal-Ponta ta' Benghisa (MT0000024), Natura 2000 Site (EUNIS 2016).

Citation: Schembri, P.J. & De Mattia, W. 2017. Lampedusa melitensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T11205A86101777. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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