Rare recent records and new localities for Kershaw's Panda-snail Pygmipanda kershawi (Brazier, 1872) in the Snowy Mountains, New South Wales.
Kershaw's Panda-snail Pygmipanda kershawi (Brazier, 1872) (Caryodidae) is a large native land snail with a shell size of about 35-60 mm (Stanisic et al. 2010). Like other caryodid land snails, P. kershawi is nocturnally active and is herbivorous, grazing on fungi and decaying plant material (Stanisic et al. 2010). The species is found under grass tussocks, leaf litter and woody debris in woodland, dry open forest and tall forest from east Gippsland and north-eastern Victoria to the Snowy Mountains in southern New South Wales (NSW) (Smith and Kershaw 1979; Smith 1992; Stanisic et al. 2010). Although relatively common in Victoria, it is uncommon in NSW (Stanisic et al. 2010), with only five known localities (Atlas of Living Australia, Australian Museum and Queensland Museum collection data). This paper documents two recent opportunistic records of the species in NSW.
Observations and previous NSW records
A single P. kershawi dry shell (Fig. 1) was found on the ground surface and collected by the author during fire-fighting work in Kosciuszko National Park, NSW, 12 km east of the NSW-Victorian border and 11 km north of the town of Khancoban (Fig. 2), on 3 March 2019. The shell was of a sub-adult animal, with a height of 29 mm. The site was at Easting 605090 Northing 6002080 GDA94 Zone 55, located east of Swampy Plains Creek Road at an elevation of 940 m Australian Height Datum (AHD), situated mid-slope with a westerly aspect, above a gully at the headwaters of Welumba Creek (Tooma River catchment). Vegetation at the site was montane eucalypt open forest. The nearby gully contained tree ferns.
A second recent NSW record came to light during the preparation of this paper. A live P. kershawi (Fig. 3) was found during vegetation survey work in the Snowy River valley, Kosciuszko National Park, 1.3 km west of the Running Waters campground and 6 km north of the NSW-Victorian border (Fig. 2), in November 2018 (M Schroder, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, pers. comm., May 2019). The snail was active by day under rainy conditions and was crawling on a lichen-encrusted rock surface. The site was at Easting 623940 Northing 5924750 GDA94 Zone 55, located west of Barry Way at an elevation of 400 m AHD and situated mid-slope with an easterly aspect. Vegetation at the site was White Cypress Pine Callitris glaucophylla open forest on rocky ground.
Previous records of P. kershawi in NSW are summarised in Table 1 and shown in Fig. 2. Records from adjacent areas in Victoria are also shown. Three of the NSW localities for P. kershawi are based on specimens collected in the early 20th century, another is undated but is reported to be from very old historical collecting (D Potter, Queensland Museum, pers. comm., March 2019) and one (based on shell fragments only) is from an Australian Museum field survey in 1993 (M Shea, Australian Museum, pers. comm., March 2019).
The Khancoban record is from the inland watershed of the Great Dividing Range, while the Running Waters record is from the coastal watershed. The majority of P. kershawi records from NSW and north-eastern Victoria are from the coastal watershed (Fig. 2). Nearby inland watershed records from the Corryong area in Victoria date from the 1970s.
The two recent records of P. kershawi reported here are significant as there have been very few records from NSW in over 100 years. In contrast, there are 141 museum specimen-based records of the species in Victoria (predominantly Museums Victoria but also Australian Museum, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and Queensland Museum (Atlas of Living Australia)). All of these records date from post-1950 and 23 are post-1990. The low number of records in total from NSW compared to Victoria may in part be related to survey effort, but is likely to also reflect a real scarcity and low population density at the northern extremity of the species' range. Malacological field trips to Kosciuszko National Park by Australian Museum staff in 2006 and 2013 found no sign of P. kershawi (M Shea, Australian Museum, pers. comm., March 2019).
The 2019 Khancoban record represents a new locality for P. kershawi and a northern extension of the known range in NSW, expanding the species' documented extent of occurrence in the state from 669 [km.sup.2] to 1294 [km.sup.2] (based on minimum convex polygons enclosing all records). This record is also significant as one of very few inland watershed records of P. kershawi in either NSW or Victoria in the last 40 years (Atlas of Living Australia). The 2018 Running Waters record also represents a new locality, the southernmost in NSW and close to a concentration of records in the Suggan Buggan area in Victoria (Fig. 2). It further expands the NSW extent of occurrence to 1601 [km.sup.2]. Together, these two new records have more than doubled the known extent of occurrence of P. kershawi in NSW.
Eight land snail species and one land snail community are currently listed as threatened in NSW under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (current to May 2019): two species from the highly developed Cumberland Plain in western Sydney, one from the highly developed coastal plain in the Ballina-Tweed Heads area on the NSW north coast and five from Lord Howe Island (where four are restricted to mountaintops). The listed land snail community (comprising 18 species including eight that are endemic to the community) is restricted to Mount Kaputar, an isolated high elevation mesic refuge on the dry western slopes of northern inland NSW (Murphy and Shea 2015). Four Victorian land snail species found in the Otways, Grampians and South Gippsland are currently listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (current to May 2019). Although not currently identified as threatened in either state, P. kershawi is considered to be of conservation concern in NSW. It is restricted to the Snowy Mountains with apparent low population abundance and is likely to be threatened by anthropogenic climate change. Elevation-restricted montane ecosystems and the species they support are considered particularly susceptible to anthropogenic climate change (Brereton et al. 1995; Hughes 2003; Green et al. 2008; Laurance et al. 2011). Land snails are considered particularly vulnerable to climate change because of restricted distributions and poor dispersal ability (Pearce and Paustian 2013; Beltramino et al. 2015; Annegret and Ansart 2017). The records of P. kershawi documented here contribute to our knowledge base for the species.
Thanks to Mel Schroder (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service) for providing information on her Running Waters record, Michael Shea (Australian Museum) and Darryl Potter (Queensland Museum) for communicated information cited in this paper, and the anonymous reviewers whose suggestions improved the paper.
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Received 4 April 2019; accepted 9 May 2019
Michael J Murphy
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, PO Box 952, Moama, NSW 2731
Table 1. Previous records of Pygmipanda kershawi in NSW Specimen Date of Locality Location collection C.55265 1900 Jindabyne 36 [degrees] 25' S, 148 [degrees] 37' E C.12310 1902 Paupong Range, 36 [degrees] 40' S, Snowy River 148 [degrees] 37' E C.63319 1914 Upper Moonbah 36 [degrees] 30' S, River 148 [degrees] 33' E M07139 & Undated--very Mt Kosciuszko 36 [degrees] 27' S, M07140 old historical 148 [degrees] 15' E collection Shell 1993 Barry Way, 36 [degrees] 41' S, fragments south of 148 [degrees] 27' E Ingebyra, on boundary of Kosciuszko NP Specimen Date of Source of collection record C.55265 1900 Australian Museum collection data C.12310 1902 Australian Museum collection data C.63319 1914 Australian Museum collection data M07139 & Undated--very Queensland Museum collection data M07140 old historical and D Potter, Queensland Museum, collection pers. comm. Shell 1993 M Shea Australian fragments Museum pers. comm.
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|Author:||Murphy, Michael J.|
|Publication:||The Victorian Naturalist|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2019|
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