Skip to main content Accessibility help

Notodiscus (Charopidae) on South Georgia: some implications of shell size, shell shape, and site isolation in a singular sub-Antarctic land snail

  • P.J.A. Pugh (a1) and R.I. Lewis Smith (a2)


Multivariate analysis shows that shells of Notodiscus sp. (Charopidae: Pulmonata) reported from South Georgia are smaller and proportionately taller than, but otherwise similar to, populations of Notodiscus hookeri (Reeve) from Iles Crozet and Iles Kerguelen. The origin of this solitary, and spatially limited, South Georgia population is enigmatic. It is confined to a remarkably small coastal lowland site which was glaciated at Last Glacial Maximum, precluding a Tertiary relict origin, and on the leeward north-east coast, ruling out post-glacial ocean rafting. The site is close to the King Edward Point settlement, yet the absence of any logistics connections with the Iles Crozet or Iles Kerguelen mitigates against anthropogenic introduction. The close proximity of the population to nests of blue-eyed shag (Phalacrocorax atriceps), Dominican gull (Larus dominicanus) and light-mantled sooty albatross (Phoebetria palpebrata) could imply the snail was originally introduced to South Georgia via these ocean transiting seabirds.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Barker, G.M. 1979. The introduced slugs of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 6, 411437.
Block, W. 1984. Terrestrial microbiology, invertebrates and ecosystems. In Laws, R.M., ed. Antarctic ecology. Vol. 1. London: Academic Press, 163236.
Bonner, W.N. 1968. The fur seal of South Georgia. British Antarctic Survey Scientific Reports, No. 56, 81 pp.
Brandjes, G.J., Block, W. Ernsting, G. 1999. Spatial dynamics of two introduced species of carabid beetles on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. Polar Biology, 21, 326334.
Cadima, J.F.C.L. Jolliffe, I.T. 1996. Size- and shape-related principal component analysis. Biometrics, 52, 710716.
Clapperton, C.M., Sugden, D.E., Birnie, J. Wilson, M.J. 1989. Late-glacial and Holocene glacier fluctuations and environmental change on South Georgia, Southern Ocean. Quaternary Research, 31, 210228.
Convey, P., Gibson, J.A.E., Hillenbrand, C.-D., Hodgson, D.A., Pugh, P.J.A., Smellie, J.L. Stevens, M.I. 2008. Antarctic terrestrial life - challenging the history of the frozen continent? Biological Reviews, 83, 103117.
Convey, P., Stevens, M.I., Hodgson, D.A., Smellie, J.L., Hillenbrand, C.-D., Barnes, D.K.A., Clarke, A., Pugh, P.J.A., Linse, K. Cary, S.C. 2009. Exploring biological constraints on the glacial history of Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, 30353048.
Cooper, J. Ryan, P.G. 1994. Management plan for the Gough Island Wildlife Reserve. Edinburgh, Tristan da Cunha: Government of Tristan da Cunha, 96 pp.
Dall, W.H. 1876. Mollusks. Contributions to the Natural History of Kerguelen Island made in connection with the United States Transit-of-Venus Expedition, 1874-75. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, 3, 1122.
Dalziel, I.W.D. 1984. Tectonic evolution of a forearc terrain, Southern Scotia Ridge, Antarctica. Geological Society of America Special Paper, 200, 132.
Dalziel, I.W.D., Dott, R.H., Winn, R.D. Bruhn, R.L. 1975. Tectonic relations of South Georgia Island to the southernmost Andes. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 86, 10341040.
Dell, R.K. 1964. Land snails from Subantarctic islands. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 4, 167173.
Ernsting, G., Block, W., Macalister, H.E. Todd, C.M. 1995. The invasion of the carnivorous carabid beetle Trechisibus antarcticus on South Georgia (sub-Antarctic) and its effect on the endemic herbivorous beetle Hydromedion spasutum (sic). Oecologia, 103, 2442.
Ernsting, G., Brandjes, G.J., Block, W. Isaaks, J.A. 1999. Life history consequences for a subantarctic beetle: evaluating the contribution of direct and indirect effects. Journal of Animal Ecology, 68, 741752.
Falla, R.A. 1960. Ocean birds as dispersal agents. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B152, 655659.
Giret, A. 1987. Geologie des Terres Australes Francaises. Comité National Française des Recherches Antarctiques, 58, 1741.
Gittenberger, E., Groenberg, D.S.J., Kokshoorn, B. Preece, R.C. 2006. Molecular trails from hitch-hiking snails. Nature, 439, 409.
Harrison, P. 1983. Seabirds, an identification guide. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 448 pp.
Headland, R. 1984. The island of South Georgia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 293 pp.
Holdgate, M.W. 1965. The fauna of the Tristan da Cunha Islands. Part III. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B249, 361402.
Kovach, W.L. 1999. MVSP - A Multi-Variate Statistical Package for Windows, version 3.1. Pentraeth: Kovach Computing Services.
Madec, L. Bellido, A. 2007. Spatial variation of shell morphometrics in the subantarctic land snail Notodiscus hookeri from Crozet and Kerguelen islands. Polar Biology, 30, 15711578.
Martins, A.M.F. 1999. Evolution and distribution of the terrestrial molluscs of the Azores. Bulletin of the Malacological Society of London, 33, 56.
Nur, A. Ben-Avraham, Z. 1982. Oceanic plateaus, the fragments of continents, and mountain building. Journal of Geophysical Research, 87, 36443661.
Palmer, M. 2008. Ordination webpage.
Powell, A.W.B. 1960. Antarctic and subantarctic Mollusca. Records of the Auckland Institute and Museum, 5, 117193.
Preece, R.C. 1995. Systematic review of the land snails of the Pitcairn Islands. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society of London, 56, 273307.
Preece, R.C. 2001. Introduced land molluscs on the islands of the Tristan da Cunha–Gough group (South Atlantic). Journal of Conchology, 37, 253259.
Pugh, P.J.A. 1997. Acarine colonisation of Antarctica and the islands of the Southern Ocean: the role of zoohoria. Polar Record, 33, 113122.
Pugh, P.J.A. 2003. Have mites (Acarina: Arachnida) colonised Antarctica and the islands of the Southern Ocean via air currents? Polar Record, 39, 239244.
Pugh, P.J.A. Convey, P. 2000. Scotia Arc Acari: antiquity and origin. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society of London, 130, 207217.
Pugh, P.J.A. Scott, B. 2002. Biodiversity and biogeography of non-marine Mollusca on the islands of the Southern Ocean. Journal of Natural History, 36, 927952.
Rees, W.J. 1965. The aerial dispersal of Mollusca. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London, 36, 269282.
Smith, B.J. Djajasasmita, M. 1988. The land molluscs of the Krakatau Islands, Indonesia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B323, 379400.
Smith, B.J. Stanisic, J. 1998. Pulmonata. In Beesley, P.L., Ross, G.J.B. & Wells, A., eds. Mollusca: the southern synthesis, fauna of Australia, Vol. 5. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, 10371125.
Smith, R.I.L. Walton, D.W.H. 1975. South Georgia, subantarctic. Ecological Bulletins, 20, 399423.
Smith, V.R. 1992. Terrestrial slug recorded from sub-Antarctic Marion Island. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 58, 8081.
Solem, A. 1968. The subantarctic land snail, Notodiscus hookeri (Reeve, 1854) (Pulmonata, Endodontidae). Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London, 38, 251265.
Tanner, P.G.W. 1982. Geological evolution of South Georgia. In Craddock, C., ed. Antarctic geoscience. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 167176.
Tingey, R.J. 1991. The geology of Antarctica. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 680 pp.
Vagvolgyi, J. 1975. Body size, aerial dispersal, and the origin of the Pacific land snail fauna. Systematic Zoology, 24, 465488.
Van Zinderen Bakker, E.M. 1971. Introduction. In Van Zinderen Bakker Sr, E.M., Winterbottom, J.M. & Dyer, R.A., eds. Marion and Prince Edward Islands. Report on the South African Biological & Geological Expedition 1965–1966. Cape Town: A.A. Balkema, 115.


Notodiscus (Charopidae) on South Georgia: some implications of shell size, shell shape, and site isolation in a singular sub-Antarctic land snail

  • P.J.A. Pugh (a1) and R.I. Lewis Smith (a2)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed