The feeding behavior and diet of the federally threatened land snail Triodopsis platysayoides (Brooks, 1933) are reported. The species is atypical among eastern North American land snails in that it remains active and feeding during hot, dry summer months while other land snail species occurring in the region may become motionless or are compelled to estivate. Triodopsis platysayoides has also coevolved with a rare mammal, the Alleghany wood-rat, Neotoma magister. Clearly, where the wood-rat and T. platysayoides coexist, wood-rats furnish a nearly constant food supply to the snail, including wood-rat excrement and a host of wood-rat harvested provisions carried into the snail's location. Triodopsis platysayoides includes as part of its diet fungi, lichens, flower blossoms of the tulip tree Liriodendron tulipifera, deceased gray cave crickets Euhadenoecus fragilis, gray cave cricket excrement, yellow birch Betula allegheniensis, and sweet birch Betula lenta leaves. Senescent leaves of the birch may form a significant pool of foliar calcium available to the snail in an otherwise acidic environment. Triodopsis platysayoides was witnessed feeding on the vacant shells of Xolotrema denotatum (Fèrussac, 1821), Mesomphix cupreus (Rafinesque, 1831), and its own kind, presumably for the calcium carbonate content, a critical mineral in regulation of bodily functions and shell building. Peak activity for the species occurred after nightfall whereas peak feeding occurred when temperatures were between 18 and 23 °C and relative humidity was between 70% and 85%.
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Vol. 26 • No. 1/2