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Land snails are members of the Phylum Mollusca and the Class Gastropoda. The importance of land snails to their native ecosystems has been greatly underestimated and understudied. For example, land snails play a huge role in the cycling of micronutrients in their ecosystems, they are active in the dispersal of plant seeds and fungal spores, and they have been shown to be bioindicators for vertebrates of conservation concern. They also contribute to the ecosystem by leaving their shells behind when they die, which is then used as a source of calcium carbonate by many species, and used in the formation of limestone. There are approximately 194 native species of snails in Kentucky, not including the 10 introduced species. The purpose of this investigation was to learn the morphology of land snail shells in order to improve identification skills. Important features used to identify land snails include the shell shape, the diameter of the shell, the reflection of the aperture lip, the umbilicus, the teeth associated with the aperture, and the number of whorls. Several local genera such as Punctum, Discus, and Haplotrema have a distinctly wide umbilicus, while genera such as Glyphyalinia, Stenotrema, and Mesodon are considered perforate to imperforate, or without an open umbilicus. The genera Triodopsis, Euchemotrema, Inflectarius, and Xolotrema all have large teeth in the aperture that can be used to identify the species based on the size and position of the teeth. This research was supported by a Morehead State University Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
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Whalen, Tessa and Risk, Allen, "Identification Of Kentucky Land Snail Species" (2021). 2021 Celebration of Student Scholarship - Poster Presentations. 7.
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