Cornwall Marvellous Mud Snails

Marvellous Mud Snails will contribute to the conservation of the Pond mud snail in Cornwall, and directly involve school children and local volunteers in survey, captive breeding, and habitat creation for this species. The project also will benefit other species associated with small and temporary ponds.

The Pond mud snail (Omphiscola glabra) is a S41 Priority Species for conservation action in England that lives in temporary water bodies with low nutrients such as ponds, ditches and marshes. Pond mud snails are adapted to survive periodic drought by burying themselves into the mud, becoming inactive until their habitat becomes wet again.

The species was formerly fairly widespread in Cornwall, but the few recent records have been largely confined to the mid-Cornwall Moors and West Penwith.  For much of its former range the status of the species largely unknown.  At an international level, the Pond mud snail is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.

The small, temporary ponds and other freshwater habitats that Pond mud snails rely upon are rarely protected and are often not recognised for their biodiversity value. Through habitat loss, damage and neglect, the Pond mud snail has disappeared from many of its former known locations across Britain.  Surveys for the snail in Cornwall show a decline in the county – it has only recently been recorded from four sites, a further eleven sites do not have any post-2000 records.

Adults of this particular snail are 12-20mm in height and like many other Molluscs are hermaphrodites, meaning that each individual is capable of laying eggs. Typically, egg masses of between 10-30 eggs are laid in February and take up to 25 days to hatch.

Marvellous Mud Snails will:

  • Re-establish the status of the Pond mud snail in Cornwall by undertaking surveys across the county.
  • Start a captive breeding programme with local schools. This will introduce schoolchildren to species conservation and demonstrate how they can do something hands-on in their classroom to help.
  • Create new habitats in the form of ponds or scrapes to introduce the captive-bred snails to. Habitats are easy to create and would closely involve the participating schoolchildren and volunteer groups, reinforcing the connection with a threatened species/habitats and how they themselves can play an active part in its conservation.
  • This project is funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery and the Ernest Cooke Trust.

If you are interested in getting involved with the project please email laura.larkin@buglife.org.uk or ring our Plymouth office on 01752 395188.

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