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'Mass extinction' victim snail rediscovered in Alabama.

Washington, June 4 (ANI): A major mass extinction of 47 species of mollusks took place in North America in the first half of the 20th century after the watershed in which they lived was dammed.

Now, researchers have found a population of one of those species-a freshwater limpet last seen more than 60 years ago and presumed extinct-in a tributary of the heavily dammed Coosa River in Alabama's Mobile River Basin.

Researchers from the University of Michigan, the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center and the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission were behind the rediscovery.

The story of Rhodacmea filosa's disappearance and reappearance is both a conservation success story and a cautionary tale for other parts of the world where rivers are being dammed, said Diarmaid O Foighil, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and a curator at the U-M Museum of Zoology.

Limpets are snails with shells shaped like caps rather than coils. They make their homes in the riffles and shoals of fast-flowing rivers and streams, where they graze on microscopic algae.

When rivers are dammed, shoals and riffles are replaced with reservoirs, and the swiftly-moving water the limpets require is stilled.

The finding was reported in the online, open-access journal PLoS One, May 31. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Jun 4, 2011
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