Wednesday, February 08, 2017Register
 Federally Threatened and Endangered Invertebrates of the Roswell Aquifer Minimize

Koster's Springsnail
Juturnia kosteri 
Koster's Springsnail photo courtesy of Brian Lang, New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish

[Photo: Brian Lang, New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish]

Description: The Koster's springsnail is a small, aquatic snail in the Hydrobiidae family. This family is sexually dimorphic with females being larger than males. Individuals are 0.16-0.18 inches (4-4.5 mm) long with a shell width ranging from 0.06-0.1 inches (1.60-2.64 mm). The shell is pale tan, narrowly conical, and has 4 1/4 to 5 3/4 whorls. Koster's springsnail is similar in appearance to the related Roswell springsnail, but can be differentiated because it has a colorless operculum compared to the white spiral streaks on the Roswell springsnail's amber operculum.

Life History: The Koster's springsnail lives from 9-15 months and has a breeding season lasting from March through September. The species is ovoviviparous (eggs are retained inside the female's body until hatching and young are free-living when born) and breeds continuously throughout the breeding season. They eat algae, bacteria, and fungi, as well as plants and animal detritus. They may also incidentally consume small invertebrates while foraging. The Koster's springsnail has internal gills for aquatic respiration, but also absorbs oxygen through gas exchange on the surface of its soft body parts.

Habitat: The Koster's springsnail is found in seeps and spring headwaters and runs in waters with variable temperature regimes. Water temperatures in Bitter Creek range from 50-68 degrees F (10-20 degrees C). This species of springsnail prefers slow to moderate water flow and soft, deep organic substrates. The Bitter Creek habitat has salinity ranging from 4.5-6 parts per thousand (ppt) and dissolved oxygen levels from 1-20 milligrams per liter (mg/L). In this area, pH ranges from 6.67-8.20 standard units.

Distribution: Juturnia kosteri was historically known from four locations on the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge (BLNWR) and one location outside of the refuge (North Spring at the Roswell Country Club). This species is currently found only in Chaves County, New Mexico on the BLNWR in Lake St. Francis, Dragonfly Spring, Bitter Creek, Sago Springs, Sinkhole No. 31, the northwestern border of Hunter Marsh, and at a small number of additional locations within the refuge. The North Spring population has been extirpated.

Critical habitat for this species has been determined (2010). The map below depicts the critical habitat for this species, as designated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to the Endangered Species Act.

NOTE: No warranty is given, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of these data. Data do no represent a legal description of the critical habitat boundary; refer to the textual description in the appropriate final rule for this species as published in the Federal Register.

Status: The Koster's springsnail is a state (2000) and federally (2005) listed endangered species. The main populations of Koster's springsnail are located in Bitter Creek and the Sago Springs complex. From 1995-1996, Koster's springsnail was found in high densities 704-89472 springsnails/m2 in Bitter Creek; however, this species is sensitive to changes in habitat, which is evidenced by its extirpation from many small springs and seeps in the Roswell area as well as the larger North Spring. Threats to the Koster's springsnail include alteration of groundwater hydrology in the form of lowered water tables and reduced springflow and streamflow, and drying up of seeps. There has also been modification of wetland habitat near the spring sites with loss of shading and replacement of native vegetation with invasive common reed (Phragmites australis). Loss of shade, and subsequent increases in water temperature, has caused a drop in dissolved oxygen. Contamination of groundwater from oil and gas wells, septic tanks, and illegal dumping of pesticides and waste oil into sinkholes are a also threat to the species habitat. Additionally, surface water contamination from agricultural runoff and increasing salinity in surface waters represent additional environmental stressors.

Resources:

New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish, Recovery Plan

New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish, Threatened and Endangered Species of New Mexico

US Fish and Wildlife Service, Critical Habitat Proposed Rule

Noel's Amphipod
Gammarus desperatus

Noel's Amphipod photo courtesy of Brian Lang, New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish

[Photo: Brian Lang, New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish]

Description: The Noel's amphipod is a small, freshwater crustacean in the family Gammaridae, one of two amphipod families found in New Mexico. This species is closely related to three other species of Gammarids (collectively known as the Gammarus pecos species complex) endemic to the Pecos River Basin. This species is brownish-green in color with red bands along its body and a red dorsal stripe. Noel's amphipod is sexually dimorphic with females reaching 0.34-0.50 inches (8.5-12.6 mm) long and males reaching 0.37-0.58 inches (9.45-14.8 mm) long. The Noel's amphipod has kidney-shaped eyes and two Y-shaped pair of antennae with the first pair being longer than the second.

Life History: The Noel's amphipod lives approximately one year and has a breeding season from February to October (depending on water temperature). Breeding lasts from 1-7 days and occurs on or near the bottom of the water body. Females retain the fertilized eggs in a brood pouch for 1-3 weeks while the eggs incubate. After the young hatch, they remain in the pouch for another 1-8 days before being released. Females can release anywhere form 15-50 offspring at once from the brood pouch, and may produce more than one brood during the breeding season. The Noel's amphipod is active at night, feeding on algae, detritus, and aquatic vegetation.

Habitat: The Noel's amphipod prefers shallow, cool, well-oxygenated water associated with small streams, ponds, ditches, sloughs and springs. These amphipods live in calcium-rich waters associated with karst bedrock. They can be found in clear, flowing water on dense beds of both emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation. They can tolerate waters with a pH range of 6.0-8.0 standard units and salinity of 0.12-5.85 parts per thousand (ppt). The Noel's amphipod avoids habitat with standing water and silty substrate.

Distribution: Gammarus desperatus was historically known from four locations in Chaves County, New Mexico: Lander Springbrook, a tributary of the South Spring River near Roswell (extirpated in 1960), North Spring near the Roswell Country Club (extirpated in 1988), and on the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge (BLNWR) at Bitter Creek (including Dragonfly Spring at the headwaters), Hunter Marsh, and a spring just outside the boundary of BLNWR.

Critical habitat for this species has been determined (2010). The map below depicts the critical habitat for this species, as designated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to the Endangered Species Act.

NOTE: No warranty is given, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of these data. Data do no represent a legal description of the critical habitat boundary; refer to the textual description in the appropriate final rule for this species as published in the Federal Register.

Status: The Noel's amphipod is a state (1990) and federally (2005) endangered species. Amphipods are capable of reaching high population densities, but are also extremely sensitive to changes in habitat. Threats to the Noel's amphipod include alteration of groundwater hydrology in the form of lowered water tables and reduced springflow and streamflow. There has also been modification of wetland habitat near the spring sites with loss of shading and replacement of native vegetation with invasive common reed (Phragmites australis). Loss of shade and subsequent increases in water temperature has caused a drop in dissolved oxygen. Contamination of groundwater from oil and gas wells, septic tanks and illegal dumping of pesticides and waste oil into sinkholes are also a threat to the species' habitat. Additionally, surface water contamination from dairy farm runoff and increasing salinity in surface waters represent additional environmental stressors. Due to the limited range of this species, a major disturbance event (such as the March 2000 fire at Dragonfly Springs) can severely damage or destroy the population at that site. The Dragonfly Spring fire reduced the local population from 11,625 amphipods per square meter to just 4 individuals in total.

Resources:

New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish, Recovery Plan

New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish, Threatened and Endangered Species of New Mexico

US Fish and Wildlife Service, Critical Habitat Proposed Rule

 

Pecos Assiminea Snail
Assiminea pecos

Pecos Assiminea Snail photo courtesy of Brian Lang, New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish
[Photo: Brian Lang, New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish]

Description: The Pecos assiminea is a very small, amphibious freshwater snail in the Assiminedae family. This family is sexually dimorphic with females larger than males. The Pecos assiminea has a shell length of only 0.05-0.08 inches (1.36-2.16 mm) and shell width of 0.04-0.06 inches (1.05-1.51 mm). The shell is a glossy chestnut brown and narrowly conical with 4 1/2 whorls. The operculum is a pale amber color and covers the shell aperture (opening). The Pecos assiminea's eyes are on short eye stalks instead of tentacles, more typical of the related Hydrobiidae family.

Life History: The Pecos assiminea typically reaches sexual maturity within 6 months of age. The Pecos assiminea breeds via internal fertilization and fertilized eggs are deposited in egg masses (large gelatinous mat). The Pecos assiminea is active at night and eats algae, bacteria and fungi, as well as plants and animal detritus, by scraping food from the foraging surface (often soil litter and vegetation). They may also incidentally consume small invertebrates while foraging. The Pecos assiminea breathes by trapping an air bubble in its mantle.

Habitat: The Pecos assiminea prefers moist soil within a few centimeters of running water, typical of seepages or small spring runs. They can be found living underneath litter and vegetation dominated by American three-square (Scirpus americanus), common reed (Phragmites australis) and spike rush (Eleocharis spp.). Although this snail prefers to live in non-inundated wetland habitats, it can also occur in shallow aquatic habitats (2-8 inches [5-21 cm] deep). It does not appear to tolerate habitats with fluctuating water levels.

Distribution: Assiminea pecos was historically known from four distinct locations: Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge (BCNWR), Diamond Y Draw in Pecos County, TX, Bolson de Cuatro Cienagas, Coahuila, Mexico and North Spring (at the Roswell Country Club). This species is currently known from three distinct areas: Diamond Y Spring in Pecos County, TX, East Sandia Spring in Reeves County, TX and in Chaves County, NM on the BLNWR at Bitter Creek (near Dragonfly Spring and near Bitter Lake), the lower reaches of the Sago Springs wetland complex, (near Sinkhole 31), along the western boundary of Unit 7, and in the southwestern corner of Unit 15. The population at North Spring has been extirpated and the current status of the Mexican population is unknown.

Critical habitat for this species has been determined (2010). The map below depicts the critical habitat for this species, as designated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to the Endangered Species Act.

NOTE: No warranty is given, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of these data. Data do no represent a legal description of the critical habitat boundary; refer to the textual description in the appropriate final rule for this species as published in the Federal Register.

Status: The Pecos assiminea snail is a state (1983) and federally (2005) listed endangered species. This species is capable of reaching high population densities. However, this species is sensitive to changes in habitat, including fluctuating surface water levels, evidenced by its extirpation from springs such as North Spring and others. There has also been modification of wetland habitat near the spring sites with loss of shading and replacement of native vegetation with invasive common reed (Phragmites australis). This species appears to be moderately tolerant to fire, as long as fire temperatures do not dry out all vegetation in the area. Contamination of groundwater from oil and gas wells, septic tanks, and illegal dumping of pesticides and waste oil into sinkholes are a threat to this species' habitat. Additionally, non-point surface water pollution from agriculture represents an additional stressor.

Resources:

New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish, Recovery Plan

New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish, Threatened and Endangered Species of New Mexico

US Fish and Wildlife Service, Critical Habitat Proposed Rule

 

Roswell Springsnail
Pyrgulopsis roswellensis

Roswell Springsnail photo courtesy of Brian Lang, New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish

[Photo: Brian Lang, New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish]

Description: The Roswell Springsnail is a small, freshwater snail in the Hydrobiidae family. This family is sexually dimorphic with females being larger than males. The Roswell springsnail is slightly smaller than the related Koster's springsnail with a shell length of 0.10-0.15 inches (2.4-3.8 mm). The shell is pale tan and narrowly conical with 4-5 whorls. The Roswell springsnail is similar in appearance to the Koster's springsnail, with the exception of its amber colored operculum with white spiral streaks as opposed to the Koster's colorless operculum. The tentacles on the head of the Roswell springsnail are brown.

Life History: The Roswell springsnail lives from 9-15 months and has a breeding season that lasts from March through September. The species is ovoviviparous (eggs are retained in the female's body until hatching and young are free-living when born) and breeds continuously throughout the breeding season. This springsnail eats algae, bacteria, and fungi, as well as detritus. It may also incidentally consume small invertebrates while foraging. The Roswell springsnail has internal gills for aquatic respiration but also absorbs oxygen through gas exchange on the surface of its soft body parts.

Habitat: The Roswell springsnail is found in seeps and spring headwaters and runs in waters with variable temperature regimes. The species is found in both Bitter Creek and Sago Springs (in similar habitats as that of the Koster's springsnail) but prefers the hard gypsum substrate of Sago Springs to the soft substrates of Bitter Creek.

Distribution: Pyrgulopsis roswellensis was historically known from Chaves County, New Mexico in three locations on the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge (BLNWR) and one location outside of the refuge (North Spring at the Roswell Country Club). This species is currently found only on the BCNWR in four distinct populations at Bitter Creek, Sago Springs, Sinkhole No. 31, and along the western boundary of Unit 6. The North Spring population has been extirpated.

Critical habitat for this species has been determined (2010). The map below depicts the critical habitat for this species, as designated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to the Endangered Species Act.

NOTE: No warranty is given, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of these data. Data do no represent a legal description of the critical habitat boundary; refer to the textual description in the appropriate final rule for this species as published in the Federal Register.

Status: The Roswell springsnail is a state (1983) and federally (2005) listed endangered species. The main populations of Roswell springsnail are located in Bitter Creek and the Sago Springs complex. From 1995-1996, the Roswell springsnail was found at densities of 1,125 -27,924 springsnails per square meter at Sago Springs (preferred habitat); however, this species is sensitive to changes in habitat, which is evidenced by its extirpation from many small springs and seeps in the Roswell area as well as the larger North Spring. Threats to the Roswell springsnail include alteration of groundwater hydrology in the form of lowered water tables and reduced springflow and streamflow, and drying up of seeps. There has also been modification of wetland habitat near the spring sites with loss of shading and replacement of native vegetation with invasive common reed (Phragmites australis). Loss of shade and subsequent increases in water temperature have caused a drop in dissolved oxygen. Contamination of groundwater from oil and gas wells, septic tanks, and illegal dumping of pesticides and waste oil into sinkholes are a threat to the species habitat. Additionally, surface water contamination from agricultural runoff and increasing salinity in surface waters represent additional environmental stressors.

Resources:

New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish, Recovery Plan

New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish, Threatened and Endangered Species of New Mexico

US Fish and Wildlife Service, Critical Habitat Proposed Rule

 

The map below depicts the critical habitat for all of these species, as designated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to the Endangered Species Act.

NOTE: No warranty is given, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of these data. Data do no represent a legal description of the critical habitat boundary; refer to the textual description in the appropriate final rule for this species as published in the Federal Register.

Map of Federally Designated Critical Habitat for the Roswell and koster's springsnail, noel's amphipod and pecos assiminea snail  [Figure: Houston Advanced Research Center using US FWS data].

Map of Federally Designated Critical Habitat for the Roswell and Koster's springsnail, Noel's amphipod and Peco Assiminea Snail [Figure: Houston Advanced Research Center using US FWS data]. Click on image to see larger map.


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