Biospeleology of the Piemonte
(North-western Italy)

Systematic Photographic
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Mollusca, Gastropoda

Gastropoda, Stylommatophora, Zonitidae, Oxychilus draparnaudi (Beck, 1837) - Troglophilesnail that live in the Partisans Cave of Rossana and in a lot of other localities both hypogean and endogean of the Piemonte. The metabolism of this Gastropoda Pulmonata is totally changed, and they can live in the total dark of the caves and have adapted their food regime from vegetarian to omnivore. During the period in which Elena Gavetti has raised this species in the Laboratory of the Scientific Station of the Bossea Cave, we could observe that they are very voracious and with their radula are able to cut the chitinous exoskeleton of the insects and devour their flesh (see photo below). Moreover we ascertained that they are very prolific; they are hermaphrodites, like a lot of other Gastropoda, and lay eggs very big from they born little snails perfectly formed and already voracious like the adults. This species is widespread in altitude, in Piemonte, from the plain to about 1000 m above the sea level. The size of the adult shell arrive to 16 mm of diameter.

Predation carried out by Oxychilus draparnaudi on a coxa of Dolichopoda ligustica. These troglophile grasshoppers are the favourite food of the Oxychilus.

Left photo: size of the eggs; centre: a nest; right: eggs on the ground surface.

Other images:

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