Shortface Lanx

Fisherola nuttallii

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

Description

The Shortface Lanx (Fisherola nuttallii) is a small freshwater snail with a volcano-shaped shell. The species' shell shape is very distinct from that of all other freshwater snails living in the Columbia River drainage. The base is roughly oval in shape. Adult Shortface Lanx are about 12 millimetres long, ten millimetres wide and six millimetres high. Juvenile Shortface Lanx resemble adults once they have hatched from eggs. The species' shell colour is variable and can be light tan to brown. The snail's body is grey with short triangular tentacles.

Habitat

The Shortface Lanx is only found in the Columbia River drainage in Canada and the United States. In Canada, this species has only been found in the free-flowing portion of the Columbia River that reaches fourteen kilometres upstream of the City of Trail to six kilometres downstream. The species' abundance remains unknown, but has likely decreased with habitat modification by dams in the Columbia River system.

The Shortface Lanx is typically found on the underside and sides of smooth rocks. The species is rarely ever found on top of rocks. It prefers large flowing rivers with clean, well-oxygenated, and cool water. Shortface Lanx move slowly from rock to rock and are more likely to disperse downstream than upstream.

Threats

The Shortface Lanx faces many threats. It is particularly vulnerable because of its limited distribution. One of these threats includes river modifications by dams. It is likely that previous modifications to the Columbia River have had a negative impact on the species' distribution. Dams transform fast flowing water that is preferred by the species into unsuitable lake conditions. They also create barriers that limit the species' dispersal. Some other potential threats to the Shortface Lanx include invasive aquatic species, pollution from urban and industrial sources, and climate change. For example, the Canadian range of the Shortface Lanx is exposed to heavy industry (a lead-zinc smelter and a pulp mill) and nutrients from fertilizers. Runoff from the small cities of Castlegar and Trail and the town of Genelle also add to the nutrient loads and contaminants in the Columbia River.

Further Information

This species is under consideration for listing as Endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

To find out if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' website.

Shortface Lanx

Scientific Name: Fisherola nuttallii
SARA Status: Under Consideration
COSEWIC Status: Endangered (April 2016)
Region: British Columbia

Region map

Region map, British Columbia

Did You Know?

The first recent evidence of the species in Canada was the discovery of a broken shell in the Columbia River near Trail, British Columbia. This was followed by surveys for live individuals in the same area in 2009 and 2010.

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