Hydrobiological Bulletin

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 95-110

First online:

Density fluctuations in populations (1982–1986) and biological observations ofPotamopyrgus Jenkinsi in two trophically differing lakes

  • Jaap DorgeloAffiliated withDepartment of Aquatic Ecology, University of Amsterdam

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The hydrobiid snailPotamopyrgus jenkinsi (E.A. Smith), characterized by parthenogenesis and ovovivipary, was quantitatively sampled monthly between June, 1982, and December, 1986, on sandy bottoms in the shallow zones of the meso-oligotrophic Lake Maarsseveen I and the eutrophic Lake Maarsseveen II. The snail demonstrated a very clumped distribution in both lakes. The mean numbers of juveniles and adults taken together fluctuated strongly. Organisms in Lake I showed relatively high densities (up to 25,000 per m2) in 1982, followed by a sudden drop to values approaching zero in December, 1982, with a subsequent rapid increase in densities, fluctuating between 2,000 and 200 per m2. In Lake II, densities of snails fluctuated between 13,000 and 300 per m2 with decreases in the spring of 1985 and 1986. The various types of decreases in the lakes are extensively discussed, but no explanation is presently available. The reduction in Lake I was of catastrophic proportions, but the speed of recovery of the population was remarkable.

Floating was observed only in Lake I, and only during the occurrence of the highest densities on the sediment. Burrowing behaviour was very common, but strongly suppressed under an uninterrupted dark regime. A shift of temperature from 15 to 22°C had the same effect. A number of submerged macrophyte species from Lake I proved to attractP. jenkinsi in the absence of sandy substrate, though these plants were only covered by the snail during the period of the highest densities in 1982. Temperatures of 20°C or lower were well tolerated, unlike temperatures of 25 and 30°C. Growth was distinct at 10, 15 and 20°C. Keeled individuals were encountered in much higher numbers in Lake I than in Lake II.


Potamopyrgus jenkinsi gastropod population dynamics eutrophication floating burrowing macrophytes temperature tolerance carination