Title

The natural diet of the endangered camaenid land snail Thersites mitchellae (Cox, 1864) in northern New South Wales, Australia

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Parkyn, J, Challisthianagara, A, Brooks, L, Specht, A, McMullan-Fisher, S & Newell, DA 2015, 'The natural diet of the endangered camaenid land snail Thersites mitchellae (Cox, 1864) in northern New South Wales', Australian Zoologist, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 343-349.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2014.042

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

The natural diet of the camaenid land snail Thersites mitchellae (Cox, 1864) was investigated by examination of the faecal contents of specimens collected from a range of substrates. The composition of faecal pellets from 22 snails obtained from three different substrates was determined. The results demonstrate that T. mitchellae has a generalist feeding strategy that varies with substrate. Fungal material contributed a high proportion of the diet, suggesting that coarse woody debris (a common fungal substrate) may be an important requirement for populations of T. mitchellae in rainforest-associated habitats. Thersites mitchellae was the first species for which a critical habitat determination was made under the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. This study adds to our knowledge of the biology of this poorly known land snail. Future studies would benefit from obtaining data pertaining to the timing and frequency of fungal dispersal and substrate preferences to gain further understanding about the availability of fungi as a food source.