New York Natural Heritage Program
Lance Aplexa
Aplexa elongata (Say, 1821)
Gastropods

Threats [-]
Because this snail occurs exclusively in temporary aquatic habitats, changes in the hydrological cycle (i.e., from climate change) could disrupt its life cycle because these mollusks depend on aestivation to survive pond drying and for overwintering. In addition, freshwater snails depend on high calcium concentrations for shell building, thus soil acidification could pose problems because this is a thin-shelled species. Dispersal among ponds (which is critical for these metapopulation-structured Gastropods) depends on the movements of other animals, especially birds, so a change in their populations could affect the snails. Because this species and its close relative, A. hypnorum (northern Europe), are in steep decline in other states, provinces and countries, some large scale factor, such as climate change seems most likely as the predominant threat. A recent assessment of freshwater Gastropods in North America (Johnson et al., 2013) revealed that 74% of the species are imperiled or already extinct and this group has the highest modern extinction rate yet recorded-- almost 10,000 times background rates. The top threats to the group as a whole are: highly restricted ranges (narrow endemics), habitat destruction (hydrological aleration= dams/channelization), and water pollution.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
In New York, small temporary wetlands such as vernal pools currently receive no legal protection. Public and private landowners could implement forested buffers (300') around these wetlands in order to protect their functioning and connectivity to other pools within upland forest communities.

Research Needs [-]
A basic inventory of woodland vernal pools in limestone regions would be a first step toward understanding whether and where this snail might still occur within the state.