Aquatic Species at Risk - Hotwater Physa
SARA Status: Endangered, Listed under SARA (2003) COSEWIC Status: Endangered (2008)
Region: Northern British Columbia
Did You Know?
This species is a hermaphrodite (meaning an individual can act as a male or female).They lay clear crescent-shaped egg masses containing 6 to 18 eggs above the water line that hatch into crawling juveniles several days later. An individual snail likely lives for about a year.
Table of Contents
The Hotwater physa is a tiny freshwater snail with a high-spired shell that ranges between 3.25 - 9.1 mm (about the size of your littlest fingernail). The shell is blackish/grey in color and the surface is somewhat shiny, but not glossy. The shell has an ear-shaped opening and coils to the left.
The Hotwater physa makes its home in the pools and streams of the hotsprings in Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park, in north-eastern British Columbia. The Hotwater physa can usually be found just above and below the surface of the water on mats of Chara (an algae), woody debris or sediment.
Because it is found in only one location in Canada, the Hotwater physa is extremely vulnerable to anything that could impact this hotsprings habitat, such as chemical contamination or interruptions of water flow. Introductions of exotic species to the hotsprings are also considered a threat to Hotwater Physa.
How Can You Help?
- Keep the hotsprings clean: Avoid using soaps, shampoos, sunblocks, and insect repellents before soaking in the Liard River Hotsprings.
- Prevent pollution: Avoid dumping garbage, fuel, pesticides or other contaminants into pools, lakes and streams. Remember that much of what you pour into your drains will ultimately make it into river and lakes.
- Keep water bodies trash-free: Always put trash in trash cans, especially near rivers, lakes and beaches.
- Recyle and reuse: Help reduce waste by recycling or reusing plastic and paper goods.
- Participate in community consultations: Get involved in Community Working Groups or visit www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/saraconsultations
- Volunteer: This may include participating on committees, attending meetings, assisting at educational outreach events, distributing outreach materials, getting involved with a conservation organization, or just simply telling a neighbour or a friend about this species.
Hotwater physa will get the protection it needs only if all Canadians work together to reduce threats. Find out more and do your best to reduce these threats wherever possible to better protect this species at risk and its habitat. Get involved with the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk or another conservation organization
The Liard River hotsprings complex is the only place in the world where researchers have found the Hotwater physa. As its name implies, this mollusc is adapted to live in the warm water environment of the hotsprings, which are between 23 and 40 ℃ year-round.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has developed a recovery strategy for Hotwater physa in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia. The Department is developing an action plan outlining the projects or activities required to meet the goals and objectives of the recovery strategy
Scientific Name: Physella wrighti
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