, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 739–759 | Cite as

Investigations of responses to metal pollution in land snail populations (Cantareus aspersus and Cepaea nemoralis) from a smelter-impacted area

  • Clémentine Fritsch
  • Michaël Coeurdassier
  • Frédéric Gimbert
  • Nadia Crini
  • Renaud Scheifler
  • Annette de VaufleuryEmail author


A cross-transplantation field experiment was performed to investigate about possible adaptation/acclimatization to metal pollution in common garden snail Cantareus aspersus (ex-Helix aspersa) and brown-lipped grove snail Cepaea nemoralis populations. Adults were collected from an area surrounding a former smelter (ME), highly polluted by trace metals (TMs) for decades, and from an unpolluted site (BE). Subadults of first generation (F1) were exposed in microcosms in a 28-day kinetic study. Four exposure sites were chosen around the smelter along a soil pollution gradient (vegetation and soil otherwise comparable). Bioaccumulation in snail soft tissues globally increased with soil contamination, with Cd, Pb and Zn concentrations reaching 271, 187, 5527 μg g−1, respectively. Accumulation kinetic patterns were similar between snail species but C. nemoralis showed greater TM levels than C. aspersus. Some inter-population differences were revealed in TM accumulation (bioaccumulation factors, accumulation kinetics) but did not suggest consistent adaptive responses. We did not detect negative effects of TM exposure on snail condition (body weight, shell size, shell weight). ME C. aspersus snails produced heavier shells than BE snails under exposure to TMs at the highest level, suggesting an adaptive response. The protocol used in this study, however, did not allow unambiguously distinguishing whether this response was due to genetic adaptation or to maternal effects. Abnormal but reversible shell development of adult ME C. nemoralis suggested physiological acclimatization. Differences in responses to TMs between populations are observed for conchological parameters, not for bioaccumulation, with different strategies according to the species (acclimatization or adaptation/maternal effects).


Acclimation Adaptive response Tolerance Invertebrate Metal stress 



We gratefully thank Cécile Grand from the Agence De l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie (ADEME) for many fruitful scientific discussions. We also warmly thank Elie Dhivert, Willy Gerbaud, Jean-Claude Lambert, Dominique Rieffel and Nicolas Tête for their technical assistance, and Peter Winterton for the review of the English language. The STARTT programme was financially supported by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR, contract n°ANR-05-ECCO-004) and the ADEME (contract n°0572C0058). Clémentine Fritsch was financially supported by a grant from the ADEME and the Conseil Régional de Franche-Comté. The authors are indebted to two anonymous Reviewers for improving the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 124 kb)
10646_2011_619_MOESM2_ESM.tif (284 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (TIFF 283 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clémentine Fritsch
    • 1
  • Michaël Coeurdassier
    • 1
  • Frédéric Gimbert
    • 1
  • Nadia Crini
    • 1
  • Renaud Scheifler
    • 1
  • Annette de Vaufleury
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Chrono-EnvironmentUMR 6249 University of Franche-Comté/CNRS Usc INRABesançon CedexFrance

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