The results of this study established that Bad Branch State Nature Preserve has at least 64 native land snail species occurring within its boundaries, representing 14 families and 35 genera. Twenty-five of the snail taxa documented at Bad Branch were new records for Letcher County; 19 species or 29% of the new records accounted for snails under 5 mm. In total, micro snail species (<5 mm) represented 45% or 28 species of the documented fauna. Two species, Paravitrea lamellidens Pilsbry and Paravitrea dentilla Hubricht were previously unknown from Kentucky. Stress in the non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis reached an acceptable level (0.118) with a three-dimensional solution. The ordination of the 19 sites indicated strong differences in the species composition of the land snail fauna between limestone and sandstone substrates. Approximately half of the species were restricted to just one substrate, with 14 restricted to sandstone and 19 restricted to limestone. Abundance (individuals/site), species richness (species/site), and percent species in the total sample were two times to almost four times greater on limestone substrate than sandstone (P ≤ 0.001). This suggested that more sandstone habitat is required to sustain the same number of snail species as is limestone habitat and that land snail diversity in the sandstone regions of Bad Branch are working at a much larger ecological scale than in limestone regions. A number of terrestrial gastropods found in Kentucky's Pine Mountain region, in particular Bad Branch, are biogeographically significant, as they represent primary associations with the Great Smoky Mountains-Blue Ridge sections of the Cumberland Province or the Blue Ridge region of West Virginia and Virginia. These interesting snail associations are further supported by the discovery of P. lamellidens and P. dentilla at Bad Branch State Nature Preserve.
Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science
Vol. 69 • No. 2
Vol. 69 • No. 2