Distribution of the snail Amphimelania holandrii Pfeiffer, 1828 (Melanopsidae; Gastropoda) in Serbia in the 2009-2012 period

Boris Novaković1, Vanja Marković2 and Jelena Tomović2



1 Serbian Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection, Ruže Jovanovića 27a, 11160 Belgrade, E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

2 University of Belgrade, Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”, Despota Stefana 142, 11060 Belgrade, Serbia; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



The paper presents the results of the study on the distribution of the freshwater snail Amphimelania holandrii (C.Pfeiffer, 1828) in Serbia. During the investigations, A.holandrii was recorded at 71 sampling sites located at 48 rivers. According to our data, the species is widely distributed within the investigated area. It was found to be the dominant snail species in the Drina River and some smaller rivers, while in the Danube the species was found to be rare and situated in a short stretch. As a widely distributed and frequent taxa in running waters situated in the hilly regions of Serbia, the species is suitable to be used in water monitoring for a particular group of stream types. Thus, it is important to further investigate the environmental factors that influence the distribution of A. holandrii to get more reliable information in order to include this species more effectively in a system of assessment of ecological status in the country.

Keywords: Amphimelania holandrii, distribution, Serbia, field research




In this paper we present data of the most recent distribution (in the period 2009-2012) of Amphimelania holandrii (C.Pfeiffer, 1828), syn. Holandriana holandrii (C.Pfeiffer, 1828) (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Neotaeniglossa: Melanopsidae) in Serbia, as a contribution to the knowledge of this taxa and its more effective use in ecological status assessment. Extensive knowledge on aquatic biota is essential for proper water management, in particular for the design of effective monitoring, selection of endangered taxa and habitats and to propose efficacious programs of measures.

The freshwater snail, A. holandrii, usually has a yellowish shell, a height of 15 mm and a 9 mm width, sometimes with 3-4 color bands. The apex is pointed and the shell has 4-6 convex whorls. The aperture is higher than broad, the inside is brownish with a brownish parietal margin, the columella merges continuously into the rounded basal margin. The operculum is relatively small and rounded (Figure 1).

The snail is often found on hard substrates, such as rocks, stones and wood in rivers and lakes (Frank, 2000; Gloer, 2002). Although the major threats to the habitats come from pollution and siltation degrading habitat quality, this species is relatively resistant to pollution compared to other riverine species, and therefore suffers less from this threat than other taxa in the same habitat, based on IUCN criteria (Tomović et al, 2011).

According to the AQEM database, this beta-mesosaprobic taxa is a good indicator of organic pollution (saprobic value 1.7; Moog, 2002). This snail is also a typical eupotamophil with relatively wide food preferences (grazer, shredder and gatherer).

Although not typically, A.holandrii can serve as an intermediate host for some parasitic trematodes (Kanev et al, 1993). This species can also be used as a biomarker of oxidative stress in the environment (Vranković et al, 2012).

The distribution range of A. holandrii covers South-Eastern Europe (Illyric province; Feher et al, 2004), including the lower and the middle part of the Danube River Basin. In Hungary this species is protected, in Slovenia it is considered vulnerable (VU) while in South Austria it is extinct after habitat destruction. On the other hand, in the Balkans it is widespread, and because of this it has been assessed as Least Concern (LC) at the European level (Tomović et al, 2011). The population trends for this species are unknown (Tomović et al, 2011).

In Serbia according to the BAES database (Simić et al, 2006) the first report dates from the late 19th century at the Danube River (Belgrade and Donji Milanovac). The Danube River remains its characteristic habitat throughout the 20th century (Simić et al., 2006).



Figure 1: Amphimelania holandrii (C.Pfeiffer,1828)

Material and Methods

Macroinvertebrate samples were collected using a hand net (25x25 cm, 500 μm mesh size) at 105 sampling sites situated at 84 Serbian rivers in the period from 2009 to 2012. Sampling was performed twice per year, in the period summer/autumn within the Annual Water Quality Monitoring Program (Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia, Annual Water Quality Reports 2009 and 2010; Serbian Environmental Protection Agency, Annual Water Quality Reports 2011 and 2012) and investigations performed by the Institute for Biological Research "Siniša Stanković" in the 2010-2012 period. The multi-habitat sampling procedure (Hering et al, 2004) and the AQEM protocol (AQEM, 2002) were applied. Samples were preserved using 70% ethanol solution and further processed in the laboratory. Identification was done by using appropriate keys (Gloer, 2002). Relative abundance of species was evaluated according to the scale given in Table 1. Average (annual) relative abundance and frequency of occurrence were calculated.




Results and Discussion

During the investigations, A. holandrii was recorded in total at 71 sampling sites located at 48 rivers (Figure 2, Table 2). It was found to be a widely distributed species in running waters in the hilly regions of Serbia (south to the Danube). Based on our data, A. holandrii is a typical species for small to medium streams in Serbia situated at elevations bellow 500 m.



Figure 2: Distribution of Amphimelania holandrii (C.Pfeiffer, 1828) in Serbia in the 2009-2012 period.


Table 2:  Amphimelania holandrii (C.Pfeiffer, 1828) in Serbia in the 2009-2012 period