Differentiation of the snail community on the north- and south-facing slopes of lower nahal oren (Mount Carmel, Israel)

Meir Broza, Eviatar Nevo

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Comparisons were made between 14 macrogastropod species on the north-facing slope (NF) and south-facing slope (SF) of Lower Nahal Oren, Mount Carmel, Israel. Striking differences in habitat selection, as well as interspecific and intraspecific differentiation, were found. The total numbers of sampled snails and shells were 7,304 and 2,125 for SF and NF, respectively. Species diversity was lower on SF. Two zones were similar between slopes: the old alluvial river bank and the karstic zone. The alluvial zones on both slopes were dominated by Euchondrus, Xeropicta, Monacha, and Helix engaddensis, albeit with different ratios, and a different species composition in the case of Euchondrus. Buliminus labrosus and Levantina caesareana were the typical inhabitants of the karstic zone in both slopes, but were accompanied by Sphincterochila cariosa and Euchondrus saulcyi on SF, and by Pomatias olivieri, Pene sidoniensis, and Eopolita protensa on NF. S. cariosa was the most abundant species on SF, but was absent from NF. B. labrosus and L. caesareana were more numerous on SF than on NF. SF-shells were significantly smaller than the shells of the same species on NF. The prosobranch P. olivieri was dominant on NF but was also found in the more mesic patches on SF. Indexing the similarity between the zones within each slope and between the slopes revealed that all four zones on NF clustered at a very small distance, followed by the clustering of the three rocky zones on SF. The alluvial zone on SF clustered to all the other zones with a weak clustering value. However, each slope had a higher index of similarity than that for the whole community at the site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-424
Number of pages14
JournalIsrael Journal of Zoology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was summarized while the senior author was the guest of J.L. Stimac, at the Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida at Gainesville. We thank our collaborator in this department, Dr. Roberto M. Pereira for his invaluable help, and Drs. R. McSorley, Z. Bar, D. Graur, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments. We also thank our assistant, Mrs. S. Weber and the students of the Department of Biology, Oranim, who participated in the Invertebrate Fauna of Israel course in 1991. Our student, Mrs. Maria Vasilkovsky drew the snails. E.N. thanks the Israel Discount Bank Chair of Evolutionary Biology and the Ancell-Teicher Research Foundation for Genetics and Molecular Evolution, for financial support.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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