Feds List Chupadera Springsnail as "Endangered"
Two Tiny Springs will be Protected as Critical Habitat for the Species
DC - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will list the highly imperiled
Chupadera springsnail as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
and designate 1.9 acres as critical habitat at the only two springs where the
species has been known to occur. The springsnail was initially made a candidate
for protection under the ESA in 1984.
Chupadera springsnail’s twenty-eight year wait for listing is finally over,”
said Taylor Jones, Endangered Species Advocate for WildEarth Guardians.
“Springsnails like this one need clean water and full aquifers to supply their
springs, but springs and their inhabitants are in trouble all across the
Chupadera springsnail is endemic to Willow Spring and an unnamed spring on
private land at the southeast end of the Chupadera Mountains in Socorro County,
New Mexico. The two hillside groundwater discharges are located a third of a
mile apart. The Fish and Wildlife Service believes the snail has been
extirpated from the unnamed spring, but might still occur at Willow Spring.
Unfortunately, the agency cannot confirm the species’ status because biologists
have been barred from monitoring either spring since 1999 when a new owner
began denying access to the property.
springs will be protected as critical habitat; the Service believes that the
unnamed spring could be restored and snails reestablished. Having two
populations of this rare species would provide essential protection from chance
events that could wipe out a single, isolated population.
Chupadera springsnail is a small to medium-sized hydrobiid snail, which are
distinguished by the presence of eyes on long antennae and their conical shell.
The Chupadera springsnail’s shell color varies from tan to brown, making it
darker in color than any other snail in its genus. Little is known about the
Chupadera springsnail, although its biology and habitat requirements appear to
be similar to other freshwater snails. It is found on firm surfaces, such as
rocks, dead wood, and plants at the spring source. It is probably an herbivore
or detritivore that feeds on algae, bacteria, and decaying organic material, or
that passively ingests small invertebrates while feeding. The snail almost
certainly depends on a constant flow of clean, cold water to persist.
and Wildlife Service has identified a number of threats to the Chupadera
springsnail, including intensive livestock grazing that degrades riparian
habitat; groundwater pumping; spring impoundment and dewatering; water
contamination; restricted range and mobility; fragmented habitat; and drought.
Both the International Union for Conservation of Nature and NatureServe list
the snail as “critically endangered.”