With minimal persuasion, I convinced Jacksonville botanist/engineer Ed
Cavin, for whom the land snail Georissa cavini Auffenberg,
is named, that there was a sentinel expedition in the works. We
hopped a Delta flight to Louisville, and drove to the Schroeders' home
early in the evening of Friday, May 16. Despite an ominous light
drizzle most of the afternoon, we were able to enjoy the
congenial reception on our hosts' patio. Shortly expeditioner
recruits Rob Smotherman and the Scheus of Louisville (Am. Conch.
Editrix Emerita Lynn and hubby Richard) joined us,
and the project as well as many other pressing conchologically
relevant, etc. issues underwent lively discussion. A most
festive repast followed, and the party continued well after
dinner. Rob's provision of a generous aliquot of "1792 Ridgemont
Reserve," a Bardstown endemic bourbon,
exquisite in flavor and nonpareil in conversational
enhancement, was a final highlight of a most enjoyable and
Ed and I slept well. Not so early Saturday morning we (and all
weather authorities we had consulted) were gruntled by
unexpectedly clear skies. The stage was set! We caravanned to
"AR" and deployed our gear - far more than we eventually put to
full use. Lori and Jeff led us a couple of hundred meters from
the parking area to the three limestone excrescences that define
this piece of the landscape. Although the Scheus were somewhat
daunted by the spectre of poison ivy, all seven expeditioners
prospected for snails at least part of the two hour campaign
that ensued. Details of the collection event are apparent in the
video produced by Jeff. Ancillary findings included various unusual
wildflowers (Lynn Scheu is an aficionada thereof),
an assortment of herbs
including the Rhus genus, which created various levels of
anxiety, interesting hardwoods, and finally a great number of
barrel hoops along a little spring run near "AR." Given the
evidence in the context Nelson County's proud tradition of
altering selected grain products by distillation and aging, we
concluded that we had come very close to the operation of a
olden days illicit competitor with our new-found friends at the
We eventually mustered
again at the parking area alongside the
W shore of a one-acre impoundment of another spring run, 200 m W of "AR." There the Scheus
had set up a table on which we were able to review the
macro snails taken by all of us. Including the mantleslug my
shirt had inadvertently collected, there were 15 species -
enough to signal potential success. The remainder of the snail
collection remained hidden from view in the six 1/2 to 1
gallon-sized bags I had stuffed with leaf litter taken along
"AR." While we picnicked and conversed in this idyllic setting,
Rob investigated the shore of the pond and brought some little
aquatic snails (physids and planorbids) to my attention. On pure
spec' I grabbed a seventh sample - about a quart of leaves and
grass from just landward of his spot. After eating, drinking,
and debriefing we headed north to the edge of the woods a paid a
visit to Gil and Joyce Chumbley to give a preliminary (and
favorable) report of our findings. After fond farewells, we went
our separate ways.
Exactly three months after departing "AR," I felt confident with
my analysis of the day's catch. A tabulation follows.
In color are the 48 species of terrestrial snails of Nelson Co.,
KY identified from collections made by Lori and Jeff Schroeder
before the Blitzkrieg.
Species among the 32 found at "AR" on the Stauble Property, ~ 8
mi. S. Bardstown; 37º44.478 - 37º44.486N X 85º31.24 - 85º31.36W
on 9/15/07 are not indented; all others are. Those found at "AR" on May 17, 2008 are
followed by [no. specimens]; thirteen (seven
macro [>10 mm], one
meso [5-10 mm], five
micro [<5 mm]) of these taxa
are new to the station; six (in black) of the thirteen were not
previously found in Nelson Co. by the Schroeders.
(Say, 1818) Globular Drop
Carychium clappi Hubricht, 1959 Appalachian Thorn
Carychium nannodes G. Clapp, 1905
File Thorn 
(Doherty, 1878) Appalachian Pillar
(new to list;
(Gould, 1841) Toothless Column
armifera (Say, 1821) Armed Snaggletooth
Gastrocopta contracta (Say, 1822) Bottleneck Snaggletooth
corticaria (Say, 1817) Bark Snaggletooth
Gastrocopta pentodon (Say, 1822) Comb
(Gould, 1840) Wing Snaggletooth
Vertigo gouldii (A. Binney, 1843)
Variable Vertigo 
Maze Pinecone 
Sterki, 1893 Thin-lip Vallonia
(Say, 1821) Gray Lancetooth
Punctum blandianum Pilsbry, 1900 Brown
Punctum minutissimum (I. Lea, 1841)
Small Spot 
Morrison, 1935 Lamellate Spot
(new to list;
vitreum (H. B. Baker, 1930) Glass Spot Glass Spot
(new to list; micro) 
Anguispira alternata (Say, 1817)
Flamed Tigersnail 
kochi (Pfeiffer, 1846) Banded Tiger 
(Deshayes, 1832) Domed Disc 
(Bosc,1802) Carolina Mantleslug
(new to list;
Helicodiscus notius notius
Hubricht, 1962 Tight Coil
1889) Smooth Coil 
Toothed Hive 
(Reinhardt, 1883) Silk Hive
(Dall, 1888) Tiny Granule
cumberlandiana (G. Clapp, 1919) Hill Glyph* 
Glyphyalinia indentata (Say, 1822)
Carved Glyph 
Glyphyalinia lewisiana (G. Clapp,
1908) Pale Glyph 
wheatleyi (Bland, 1883) Bright Glyph (new to list; micro)
Hawaiia alachuana (Dall, 1885)
Southeast Gem 
Hawaiia minuscula (Binney, 1841)
Minute Gem 
(MacMillan, 1940) Globose Button (new to list;
H. B. Baker, 1933 Common Button 
Striatura meridionalis (Pilsbry
and Ferriss, 1906) Southern Striate 
collisella (Pilsbry, 1896) Sculptured Dome 
demissus (A. Binney, 1843) Perforate Dome
Hubricht, 1964 Yellow Dome
Zonitoides arboreus (Say,
1817) Quick Gloss 
fraternum (Say, 1824) Upland Pillsnail 
leai (A. Binney, 1841) Lowland Pillsnail
Inflectarius inflectus (Say, 1821)
clausus (Say, 1821) Yellow
Mesodon elevatus (Say,
1821) Proud Globe
(Say, 1817) White-lip Globe 
(A. Binney, 1837) Toothed Globe 
albolabris (Say, 1817) Whitelip 
appressa (Say, 1821) Flat Bladetooth
Pilsbry, 1940 Dished Threetooth
vulgata Pilsbry, 1940 Dished Threetooth**
obstrictum (Say, 1821) Sharp Wedge 
* ID change from G. rhoadsi based on adult
shells first found during this saturation effort.
**previously misID'ed as
Triodopsis hopetonensis (Shuttleworth,
1852) Magnolia Threetooth;
see both Triodopsis vulgata morphs in the figures at <http://www.jaxshells.org/cftrio.htm>
specimens of 38 species, all native to the area, were collected at
"AR" 5/17/08. The total for the two (9/15/07 & 5/17/08) AR
collections is 44 native species. To the best of my knowledge,
based largely on personal experience and a series of informal
conversations with American land snail experts over several decades, this
single "AR" station and the two visit single locality composite
seems to have detected more biodiversity than any other place in the eastern
United States - ever! The expedition was specifically designed to accomplish
this feat. The strategy for its success involved a
carefully-selected provident habitat (the limestone-rich KY
pristine forest which had provided
an abundance of snails
previously), a team of energetic and savvy collectors, the
technical combination of visual reconnaissance with generous
sampling of the forest duff, and temperate weather preceded by
generous precipitation. We can congratulate ourselves on a
well-planned and -executed outing, but only Lady Luck should be
credited for that final ingredient.
In my experience, the runner-up for productivity at a single
station is 36 native species taken in the vicinity of Florida
Caverns on 5/12/08 (Lee, 2008b). A total of 1267 specimens was
taken in this event <http://www.jaxshells.org/caverns.htm>.
Next on my medal stand is the October, 1989 sample taken at
"The Cabin," James Mt., Haywood Co., NC by Bonnie Holiman and
Billie Brown with 566 specimens of 33 native species (Lee, 1990,
1993). The cumulative tally over a half dozen collecting
episodes at "The Cabin" is 37 native and one introduced species <http://www.jaxshells.org/pdfs/novdec03.pdf>.
Never have I gotten over 30 native species in a single
collecting event at a Jacksonville locality under natural
conditions. It is true that larger numbers have been taken from
single localities, but I had to resort to at least one of two
special methods: repeated (composite) sampling or drift analysis
(Lee, 2006a) <http://www.jaxshells.org/bbranch.htm>.
Among the largest Jacksonville area single station takes are (native
snails only): Freedom-Commerce Tract [33 spp.] (Lee, 2006a) <http://www.jaxshells.org/freedom.htm>, Bennett Branch [22
spp.], Baker-Skinner Park , and the Jennings Tract [20
spp.], but these four were all essentially based on drift
samples <http://www.jaxshells.org/bbranch.htm>, the composition of
which is not a natural assemblage.
The largest Jacksonville area "single locality" composite native snail
species inventories are: Munsilna McGundo House, Ft. George Is.
[34 spp.] <http://www.jaxshells.org/dsc19.htm>, Low woods, Dupont Ctr.,
St. Johns Co. [32 spp.], My back yard [25 spp.], Ft. Caroline
National Memorial [25 spp.] <http://www.jaxshells.org/fortc.htm>, and Big Talbot Is. [23
spp.] (Lee, 2006c) <http://www.jaxshells.org/arko.htm>. The latter two actually
include more than one specific locality. Species lists and a map
showing all the Jacksonville area localities are at <http://www.jaxshells.org/cumu.htm>.
On Sanibel Is. at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge I
took 847 specimens of 22 native landsnail species on 3/3/06
My best Bennington Co., VT take so far has been
the lower quarry
on the eastern flank of Mt. Aeolus, where 23 native species were
collected on 9/27/03 (Lee, 2004) <http://www.jaxshells.org/vermont.htm>. Excluding the
discovery of two introduced species, the cumulative tally
increased to 28 with a second visit on 5/24/08.
Using samples of drift collected from the center of the USA
by coast-to-coast sheller Tom Grace in 2005, I was able to find
large numbers of native land snails: Buffalo River, AK [36 spp.],
Marais des Cygnes River, KS [29 spp.], and Neosho River, KS [26 spp.].
Two landmark collections were made in Alabama: (1) Several
liters of drift from the Paint Rock River in Madison Co.
contained 32 species of native snails (Lee, 1996) <http://www.jaxshells.org/freshwat.htm>. (2) During COA 2006
I took 26 native species at Claiborne Bluff, Monroe Co. without
resorting to drift sampling (Lee, 2006b).
Returning to Nelson Co., I must write a bit of an epilogue.
Because of Rob's interest in the open grassy area and pond
margin at the picnic site, I analyzed the grass-soil sample I
Species found in grass-duff sample ("Rob's spot") near
W shore 1 acre impoundment of another spring run, 200 m
W "Anguispira Rock” ~37º44.5N X 85º31.32W. H. G. Lee and
R. Smotherman! May 17, 2008:
riparium Hubricht, 1978 Floorplain Thorn *
(Gould, 1840) Blade
(Say, 1817) Maze Pinecone 
(I. Lea, 1841) Small Spot 
* Previously unrecorded
from Nelson Co.
Thus the total species count for Nelson Co., KY collected by
Lori Schroeder and associates climbs to 56! This finding at
“Rob’s Spot,” in the context of the exhaustive benchmark
collection made just 1/8 mile away, is a fine demonstration of
the influence of habitat on the composition of the landsnail
fauna ... and it opens the doors to speculation about how many
land snail species do actually occur in Nelson Co., KY.
Life wouldn't be interesting, and science wouldn't be true to
form if new questions didn't arise as soon as older ones are answered.
The author wishes to thank Ed Cavin for logistical, photographic
and field assistance, Bill Frank for technical, editorial, and
photographic services, David Kirsh for his close-up photography
(borrowed from an earlier installment), Lori Schroeder for her
hospitality, ground-breaking field work, and editorial
contributions, Dr. Jeffrey Schroeder for his cinematography,
photography, and its editing, as well as field support, Lynn and
Richard Scheu for their provision of materials and botanical
support, and Rob Smotherman for his enthusiasm and provocative
curiosity in the field.
Lee, H. G., 1990. Toward an improved strategy for landsnail
collecting. Shell-O-Gram 31(1): 3,6-8. Jan.-Feb.
Lee, H. G., 1993. Toward an improved strategy for landsnail
collecting. American Conchologist 21(1): 12-13. March.
Lee, H. G., 1996. A contrivance to combine conchological
collection capacity coincident with canoe clamming -or- Dream
stream stems teem with stenotremes. Shell-O-Gram 37(6):
1, 4-5, 7. Nov.-Dec.
Lee, H. G., 2004. Advancing Vermont malacology -or- Finding lime
recycled after half a billion years of mineral inertia. Shell-O-Gram 45(1): 2-6. Jan.-Feb
Lee, H. G., 2006a. The urban shelling experience: wrack up a new
method - if you get my drift. Shell-O-Gram 47(1): 3,-4.
Lee, H. G., 2006b. Landsnails of Claiborne Bluff.
Conchologist 34(3): 30-31. Sept.
Lee, H. G., 2006c. Archaeology team really digs shells.
Shell-O-Gram 47(6): 1,5-6. Nov.-Dec.
Lee, H. G., 2008a. Shelling Sequel: Snailer Schroeder's shelled
species survey soars significantly since second stage started
(soil samples sorted). Shell-O-Gram 49(1): 3-10.
Lee, H. G., 2008b. A dirty job, but one worth doing - Florida
Caverns redux. Shell-O-Gram 49(4): 4-6. July-Aug.
Lee, H. G.,
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel
Island, and of Lee County,
Florida. Florida Scientist
2-14. March 12.
Schroeder, L., 2005. The reluctant explorer.
Shell-O-Gram 46(1):1, 3-4. Jan.-Feb.
Schroeder, L., 2008. The reluctant
explorer. American Conchologist 36(2): 32-34. June.
Last emended 24 October, 2020.