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Helicella stiparum

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA MOLLUSCA GASTROPODA STYLOMMATOPHORA HYGROMIIDAE

Scientific Name: Helicella stiparum
Species Authority: Rossmässler, 1854
Taxonomic Notes: The generic/subgeneric status of this species must be confirmed. Comparative anatomic and genetic studies including closest species and genera (even North Africans) could be explanatory.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-08-17
Assessor(s): Arrébola, J.
Reviewer(s): Martínez-Ortí, A., Gomez, B., Lutz, M.L., Neubert, E. & Cuttelod, A.
Justification:
The expansion of intensive agriculture (greenhouses) is causing the decline in the quality and area of the habitat of this species (inland steppe and coastal dunes). Helicella stiparum survive in isolated subpopulations, in the last altered remnants of habitats. The different level of drought cause fluctuation in the population size. The overexploitation of aquifers for irrigation purposes, amplifies the mentioned effect, reducing the water availability for the species and the vegetation that supports it. If this situation does not change, this species could disappear in the near future. It is therefore listed as Endangered B1ab(iii).
History:
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic of the Andalusia province of Almería (south of Spain). It is restricted to a small and progressively modified area, not far from the coastline in El Ejido, Almería, Viator, Benahadux, Berja (Puente 1994, Arrébola 2001, Arrébola and Ruiz 2008, Ruiz et al. 2009).
Countries:
Native:
Spain (Spain (mainland))
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are few population data about this species. However, it seems that the largest subpopulations in size and extension occur in the coastal strip, divided in two isolated groups. The first (western) extends between Roquetas de Mar and Guardias Viejas, and includes the natural site Punta Entinas-Sabinar. The second (eastern) is between the airport of Almeria and Cabo de Gata, comprising part of the Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Nijar. Considering the whole range, the densities are considerably higher in steppe areas (coastal or not) than in the coastal-dune environments (Ruiz et al. 1999).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Helicella stiparum lives in steppe areas with coastal influence, high insulation, very dry soils and xerophyte shrubs, with the presence of stones (limestones) where it hides (Arrebola 1995, Ruiz et al. 2006). It is also present in small coastal sandstone cliffs and coastal dune environments, sheltered in herbaceous and shrub vegetation. On the coast, it does not appear in saline soils or associated with halophytic vegetation. Towards inland,  it has not colonized  the surrounding mountains environments (Sierra de Gador and Sierra Alhamilla). Life cycle is unknown, although, as in other xerothermophilous species studied in the area, aestivation can last several months (May to October) and reproduction is mainly in autumn, after the first rains (Ruiz et al. 2009).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not used.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat: The progress of the greenhouses has led to a loss and/or a severe transformation of nearly 280 km2 of steppe. 13% of the whole disturbance has happened between 1991 and 1999 (36.4 km2). On the coast, the urbanisation is also growing and an increase of 6.2 km2 in the built surface occurred from 1991 to 1999, of which more than 50% have led to loss of natural habitat. The urban growth is estimated at 14% between 1991 and 1999. Between 1999 and 2002 the expansion of "Almerimar" urbanization has reduced virtually the species habitat to the natural protected site "Punta Entinas" (aerial land of Andalusia 2004). The natural protected surface actually cover only 27.6% of the occupation recorded in 1999.
Population: Although the species is well adapted to the typical aridity of the area, the different level of drought cause fluctuation in the population size. The overexploitation of aquifers for irrigation purposes, amplifies the mentioned effect, reducing the water availability for the species and the vegetation that supports it. Subpopulations living in agricultural areas are exposed to land and water pollution by pesticide treatments. In this context, H. stiparum is gradually replaced by other snails species that are more resistant to these pollutions, such as Rumina decollata (Linnaeus, 1758), Theba pisana (Müller, 174) or Otala lactea murcica (Rossmässler, 1854).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species has been classified as Endangered in the Red Book of Spanish Invertebrates (Verdú and Galante 2009) as well as in the Red Book of Andalusian Invertebrates (Arrébola and Ruiz 2008). It is included in the "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Andalusian Snails Program" promoted by the Andalusian Regional Ministry of Environment (Junta de Andalucía). It is needed to develop and implement an integral recovery plan for the west coast of the province of Almería that would benefit not only H. stiparum but other threatened species in this area, i.e.: the terrestrial snails Iberus g. gualtieranus (Linnaeus, 1758), Xerosecta adolfi (Pfeiffer, 1854), Theba subdentata helicella (Wood, 1828), Xerotricha mariae (Gasull, 1972), Hatumia cobosi (Ortiz de Zárate, 1962), Xerocrassa cobosi (O. de Zárate, 1962) and Iberus gualtieranus mariae (Cobos, 1979) (Ruiz et al. 1998). In this plan, the necessary steps to ensure the conservation of the species should be defined, such as the protection of the scarce coastal dune systems and steppe areas that still remain, especially the left side of the Andarax river mouth where it is necessary to know the real situation of the subpopulation. Other important conservation measure would include the implementation of habitat protection standards, the assessment and monitoring of the general urban plan in some municipalities (Roquetas de Mar, El Ejido, Almería, etc.) and the control of new irrigation concessions.

Citation: Arrébola, J. 2013. Helicella stiparum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 October 2014.
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