, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 103–108 | Cite as

Some aspects of the ecology of the desert snail Sphincterochila prophetarum in relation to energy and water flow

  • Yosef Steinberger
  • Shlomo Grossman
  • Zvy Dubinsky


Between 1976–1978, we studied the ecology of the Sphincterochila prophetarum, the most common snail, on stony slopes in Northern Negev. Energy and water flow determinations were made at the individual and population levels on a field observation basis and metabolic data were derived from laboratory simulations.

The snails are active during 5–7% of the time during the year, while the remaining 95% of the time, the snails are in aestivation under stones. The energy and water inputs during the short feeding periods are very fast. Only 8% of the total energy in the eaten food are assimilated. Eighty-nine percent of the total assimilated energy are utilized in respiration during the various periods of activity and dormancy.

The water loss during the feeding and activity period is about 37% of the total annual input. The snails lose twice as much the amount of water during the winter dormancy periods than in the summer dormancy period.


Water Input Feeding Period Laboratory Simulation Dormancy Period Metabolic Data 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yosef Steinberger
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shlomo Grossman
    • 1
  • Zvy Dubinsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesBar-Ilan Univ.Ramat-GanIsrael
  2. 2.Desert Research InstituteBen-Gurion Univ of the NegeyNegevIsrael

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