Microxeromagna lowei

Family

Hygromiidae

Species

Microxeromagna lowei (Potiez and Michaud, 1852)

Common Name

Small brown snail, Citrus snail

Description

The shell of this species is 3-5 mm high and 5.5-8.5 mm wide, with 4.5 whorls. The shell is tan with numerous brown spots of various shades. The lower portion of the shell has narrow stripes that are not continuous. There may be short hairs covering the shells (0.05 mm long). In many empty shells, the hair may be absent due to abrasion of the surface, leaving hair scars. It has a narrow umbilicus. The body of the animal is white with a brown spot at the margin of the mantle.

Native Range

Western Mediterranean region

Distribution

Australasia: Australia

Africa: Canary Islands to Israel and Lebanon

Europe: Italy; Spain; Mediterranean

Ecology

The small brown snail occupies terrestrial and arboreal habitats. It is generally a contaminant of citrus exports from Australia. Shipments to the U.S. have been rejected due to contamination by this species. Both adults and juveniles of this species may be found in citrus trees on the leaves and fruit as well as in the leaf litter below the trees. This complicates management strategies for this species. The small brown snail is also a pest of cereals as they generally aggregate on the leaves and seed head. They contaminate cereal grains and increase the moisture content. This allows for the introduction of secondary fungal pathogens which may produce toxins. The toxins produced by these secondary fungal pathogens may cause fatality and reproductive disorders in humans and cattle. The snail density may attain 4000 snails/m2. This self-fertile species can mature within 6 weeks and will lay on average 500 eggs per year in the soil.

Synonyms

  • Microxeromagna arrouxi
  • Microxeromagna vestita
  • Microxeromagna armillata (Lowe)
  • Helix lowei Potiez & Michaud, 1838
  • Helix (Xerophila) armillata Lowe, 1852
  • Helix vestita Rambur, 1868
  • Helix subsecta Tate, 1879
  • Helicella (Candidula) mayeri Gude, 1914

References

Zhao 2004

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