Few studies have dealt with the geographic distribution of freshwater snails in Argentina. The objectives of this study were to: (1) determine species and family richness and diversity patterns; (2) verify if species richness behaves according to Rapoport's rule; (3) identify and classify species according to their distributions; and (4) identify endangered species. A grid was applied to a map of Argentina, with each of 340 squares (SUs) representing 10,000 km2. A database of 3,376 records was analyzed. Of the 101 species belonging to ten families recorded in Argentina, four are introduced and 40 are endemic to Argentina. The Lithoglyphidae have the highest number of species (22). The highest species richness/SU was recorded in the Brazilic subregion at Salto Grande (32 species) on Uruguay River, and parts of the Río de la Plata (31). In this subregion the species richness values increase from west to east. The highest richness in the Chilean-Patagonian subregion was detected at San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro province (9), and the Chilinidae contained the largest number of species. In Argentina, the north-south decline species pattern could be explained through Rapoport's rule. In Patagonia, the species richness gradients do not show significant west-east trends. Most of the native species of freshwater molluscs of restricted distribution can be considered endangered (about 45 species) but need further study.
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Vol. 49 • No. 1