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Differences in population dynamics of Bradybaena fruticum (O.F. Müller, 1774) (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Bradybaenidae) in a submontane and lowland area of Poland

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Population dynamics of a meso-hygrophilous helicoid Bradybaena fruticum was studied in SW Poland at two localities with similar habitat but different climatic conditions. Unexpectedly, at the submontane site in Szczytna the growth appeared to be significantly faster than in the lowland site (Wrocław), where the weather conditions varied widely during the whole growing season. In Szczytna the average growth rate was 0.26 whorl/month; 0.36 whorl/month in the fast phase (juveniles from hatching till 5.0 whorls), and 0.07 whorl/month in the slow phase (snails with 5.1 whorls till lip formation). During the whole growing season, the average increment was 4.5 whorls, whereas the maximum was 5.45 whorls. In Wrocław the average growth rate was 0.05 whorl/month; 0.1 whorl/month in the fast phase, and only 0.01 whorl/month in the slow phase. The average growth of juveniles, estimated during two growing seasons, equalled 3.8 whorls; the maximum recorded value was 4.75 whorls. In the winter there was hardly any growth. In earlier studies it was found that at higher altitude the growth rate seems to decrease and therefore appears to be correlated with the thermal regime of the locality. In this study it was established that the weather patterns, like months with drought or occasional flooding, are likely to influence the population dynamics in the lowland population.

Affiliations: 1: 1Museum of Natural History, Wrocław University, Sienkiewicza 21, 50-335 Wrocław, Poland; 2: 2Department of Invertebrate Systematics and Ecology, Institute of Biology, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Kożuchowska 5b, 51-631 Wrocław, Poland


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