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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow Ecology arrow Snails' place
Snails' place PDF Print
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Articles - Ecology
Written by F.J. Brook   
Thursday, 14 August 2008

An extract from:

Distribution and conservation status of the dune snail Succinea archeyi Powell (Stylommatophora: Succineidae) in northern New Zealand


From 1994 to 1998, S. archeyi was present along the seaward side and northern end of Ngunguru Spit, and in deflation hollows in the middle of the spit (Fig. 8). The snails were living in sandfield vegetation comprising spinifex, C. leptophylla, I. nodosa, M. complexa and exotic grasses and herbs. The areas of native dune vegetation showed extensive damage from browsing and trampling by stock, and infestations of pampas, Polygala myrtifolia, and brush wattle (Paraserianthes lophantha) were locally displacing native plant species.

The population of S. archeyi on Ngunguru Spit is one of the most extensive still remaining

Ngunguru Spit is entirely in freehold title, and is presently mostly undeveloped. However, the owner is proposing to subdivide the spit for low-density residential development. The population of S. archeyi on Ngunguru Spit is one of the most extensive still remaining (i.e. covering c. 40 ha) and is the largest in southern Northland. Its future survival is contingent on preservation of the native sandfield habitat on the spit. Stock damage and weed invasion are serious existing threats, although grazing cattle may in fact be slowing the spread of pampas. If the proposed subdivision of Ngunguru Spit goes ahead, it could lead to further habitat degradation or loss through land development, introduction of additional invasive plant species, and damage from vehicles and stock.

From a conservation perspective, the ecological value of Ngunguru Spit and the population of S. archeyi would be best protected if the spit remained undeveloped, stock were fenced out, and a weed control programme was undertaken to deal with the invasive exotic plant species present. Such an approach would be contingent on landowner support, which is unlikely to be obtained, or on purchase of the spit by the Crown for reserve purposes.

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