FWGNA > Species Accounts > Pleuroceridae > Pleurocera troostiana perstriata
Pleurocera troostiana perstriata (Lea 1853)
Goniobasis or "Elimia" perstriata
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> Habitat & Distribution

The range of Pleurocera troostiana was restricted by Goodrich (1940) to its type locality in Mossy Creek, Jefferson County, Tennessee.  Our regional surveys suggest, however, that together with all its probable variants, subspecies and synonyms, the species is much more widely distributed.  We have documented populations of P. troostiana inhabiting small streams from the Valley-and-Ridge province of SW Virginia and East Tennessee throughout the Unglaciated Interior Low Plateau of Middle Tennessee, North Alabama and Kentucky.  FWGNA incidence rank I-5.

Isaac Lea gave the habitat of his "Melania perstriata" as "Coosa River, Alabama; Huntsville, Tennessee," certainly meaning Huntsville, Alabama.  Goodrich (1940) discounted the Coosa River suggestion but broadenend the Huntsville range to "springs and small streams of North Alabama."  We have records of perstriata (now understood as a subspecies of P. troostiana) in tributaries of the Tennessee River throughout North Alabama and southern Tennessee, including the Paint Rock River, the Elk, and the Flint.  Within this region P. troostiana perstriata populations primarily inhabit small, rich, hardwater creeks and springfed streams. Populations are also occasionally found in larger rivers when cool and clear, especially when spring sources are nearby.

> Ecology & Life History

Bickel (1968) offered a very complete description of the habitat of central Kentucky P. troostiana populations (subspecies lyonii), which he said were "commonly found on firm surfaces in riffle areas but more abundant in shallow spots near shore where water is in motion although slow moving and less turbulent."  Yes, that describes the habitat of P. troostiana perstriata populations exactly.

Bickel also focused a great deal of attention on egg masses, which he figured and described as "plano-convex, 1.3 - 2.0 mm in diameter, and partly covered with fine sand grains."  He personally observed eggs "deposited on the undersides of stones" in the month of April, but quoted an unpublished Ph.D. dissertation by W. L. Minkley to the effect that egg masses could be found "July through September, as well as during October, January, and April."

Alas, Bickel did not offer any further observations on life history.  But it seems reasonable to expect that two years will be required for maturity, and that several years of iteroparous reproduction can be expected thereafter, as is the case for pleurocerids generally (Dazo 1965). This is life cycle Hi of Dillon (2000: 156 - 162). 

> Taxonomy & Systematics

In some of our prior publications (Stewart & Dillon 2004, Dillon & Robinson 2007a) as well as in previous versions of this website, we referred to this species as Pleurocera (or Goniobasis) arachnoidea (Anthony, 1854) - the oldest name available in the Virginia literature.  The extension of the FWGNA survey into east Tennessee, however, uncovered a great number of synonyms for this species with earlier dates than Anthony's arachnoidea, including Isaac Lea's troostiana, to which we ultimately awarded the blue ribbon. 

There is much confusion on the precise date of Lea's authorship of Melania troostiana, however - Burch (1989) and Graf (2001) giving 1838 and Tryon (1873) and Goodrich (1940) giving 1841.  Lea apparently read his paper describing troostiana before the American Philosophical Society on November 4, 1836, Scudder (1885) asserts that Volume 6 of the Transactions (in which Lea's description was published) was printed and ready for publication in 1838, and the date on the front cover of Transactions Volume 6 (in which his description was published) states "1839."   For a more complete discussion see my essay of 6Dec19 from the link below.

Three populations of P. troostiana (identified as G. arachnoidea) were included in the allozyme study of Dillon & Robinson (2007a).  The species is quite distinct genetically.  There is no evidence of hybridization with either P. simplex or P. clavaeformis, the other two species of Pleurocera with which it sometimes co-occurs.

As the FWGNA project expanded into Middle Tennessee, North Alabama, and Kentucky, we discovered populations of this same, highly variable species described under a plethora of additional names, some of which we have retained at the subspecific level.  The variably-striate (but uncostate) populations of East Tennessee we refer to the typical Pleurocera troostiana troostiana.  For populations bearing lightly costate shells we have recognized P. troostiana perstriata, for those bearing heavily costate shells P. troostiana edgariana, and for the variably-shelled populations inhabiting Ohio drainages of central Kentucky P. troostiana lyonii.  A complete review of the elaborate taxonomy of Pleurocera troostiana is available as a download here [pdf].

Originally described in the genus Melania, Tryon (1873) transferred perstriata to Goniobasis but otherwise left it untouched.  Goodrich (1930, 1940) recognized two subspecies in addition to the typical perstriata: Goniobasis perstriata crispa (Lea 1862) and G. perstriata decampii (Lea 1863), all from North Alabama.  Burch transferred the species (with its three subspecies) to "Elimia," but otherwise transmitted the Goodrich system uncritically.  We demoted perstriata to subspecific status under troostiana in our essay of 15Apr20, synonymizing pybasii (1862), paupercula (Lea 1862) and decampii (Lea 1863) underneath it in a follow-up essay published 10May20.  Links to both of these essays are given below.

This species has travelled through three genera in thirty years.  Although predominantly assigned to Goniobasis through most of the 20th century, in the 1980s many workers began placing it in the resurrected generic nomen, "Elimia."  Both Goniobasis and Elimia were subsumed under Pleurocera by Dillon (2011).  See my essay of 23Mar11 from the link below for more.

> Supplementary Resources

  • Dillon, R. T., Jr. (2020) The four subspecies of Pleurocera troostiana (Lea 1838), with synonymy.  FWGNA Circular 2: 1 -5. [pdf]
  • Distribution of P. troostiana perstriata.
  • Pretty photo of living P. troostiana perstriata, courtesy of Chris Lukhaup.Pretty photo

> Essays

  • Taxonomic controversy has surrounded the generic nomina Pleurocera, Goniobasis, and Elimia for many years.  The best entry into the subject would be my essay of 23Mar11, entitled Goodbye Goniobasis, Farewell Elimia.  Links are available from that essay to older resources.
  • In my blog post of 4Aug19, "CPP Diary: Yankees at The Gap," I documented a striking case of cryptic phenotypic plasticity in the population of P. troostiana inhabiting a little stream that runs south out of Cumberland Gap, TN.
  • I used the Melania troostiana situation as an example of why Isaac Lea Drives Me Nuts in November of 2019.
  • The evidence that troostiana is the oldest available name for this entire far-flung and variable species was reviewed in 6Dec19, On the Trail of Professor Troost.  And I reviewed the evidence that seven other East Tennessee nomina should be considered its junior synonyms in my post of 7Jan20, CPP Diary: The Many Faces of Professor Troost.
  • The subspecies perstriata was proposed in my essay of 15Apr20, Huntsville Hunt.  The North Alabama nomina pybasii (Lea 1862), paupercula (Lea 1862) and decampii (Lea 1863) were synonymized under P. troostiana perstriata in my essay of 10May20, A House Divided
  • I proposed and justified the (predomiantly Cumberlandian) subspecies edgariana in my essay of 5June20, What is Melania edgariana, and the west Kentucky subspecies P. troostiana lyonii in my essay of 6July20, The Return of Captain Lyon.

> References

Bickel, D.  (1968)  Goniobasis curreyana lyoni, a pleurocerid snail of west-central Kentucky. The Nautilus 82: 13 - 18.
Branson, B.A. (1987)  Keys to the aquatic gastropoda known from Kentucky.  Trans. Kentucky Acad. Sci. 48: 11 - 19.
Burch, J. B. (1989)  North American Freshwater Snails.  Malacological Publications, Hamburg, Michigan.  365 pp.
Dazo, B. C. (1965)
The morphology and natural history of Pleurocera acuta and Goniobasis livescens (Gastropoda: Cerithiacea: Pleuroceridae). Malacologia 3: 1 - 80. 
Dillon, R. T., Jr. (1989)  Karyotypic evolution in pleurocerid snails: I. Genomic DNA estimated by flow cytometry. Malacologia, 31: 197-203.  
Dillon, R. T., Jr. (2000)  The Ecology of Freshwater Molluscs. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.  509 pp.  
Dillon, R. T., Jr. (2011)  Robust shell phenotype is a local response to stream size in the genus Pleurocera (Rafinesque, 1818).  Malacologia 53: 265-277.
Dillon, R. T. Jr., & K. B. Davis (1991)  The diatoms ingested by freshwater snails: temporal, spatial, and interspecific variation. Hydrobiologia 210: 233-242.   
Dillon, R. T., Jr., & J. D. Robinson (2007a) The Goniobasis ("Elimia") of southwest Virginia, I. Population genetic survey.  Report to the Virginia Division of Game & Inland Fisheries, 25 pp.  [PDF]
Goodrich, C. (1913)  Spring collecting in southwest Virginia.  Nautilus 27: 81-82, 91-95.
Goodrich, C. (1930)  Goniobases of the vicinity of Muscle Shoals.  Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 209: 1 – 25.
Goodrich, C. (1935)  Studies of the gastropod family Pleuroceridae V.  Occas. Pprs. Mus. Zool. Univ. Mich., 318: 1 - 12. 
Goodrich, C. (1940) The Pleuroceridae of the Ohio River drainage system.  Occas. Pprs. Mus. Zool. Univ. Mich., 417: 1-21.
Graf, D. L. (2001)  The cleansing of the Augean stables.  Walkerana 12(27): 1 - 124.
Jokinen, E.H. 1992.
The Freshwater Snails (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of New York State. NY State Mus Bull 482, Albany, New York.
Scudder, N. P. (1885)  Bibliographies of American naturalists - II. The published writings of Isaac Lea, LL.D.  Bullentin of the US National Museum 23: 1 - 278.
Smith, D.G. 1980. Goniobasis virginica (Gastropoda: Pleuroceridae) in the Connecticut River USA. Nautilus 94:50-54.
Stewart, T. W., & R. T. Dillon, Jr.  (2004)  Species composition and geographic distribution of Virginia's freshwater gastropod fauna: A review using historical records.  Am. Malac. Bull. 19: 79-91.
Tryon, G. W. (1873)  Land and Freshwater shells of North America Part IV, Strepomatidae.  Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 253: 1 - 435.