Species Profile

Shortface Lanx

Scientific Name: Fisherola nuttallii
Taxonomy Group: Molluscs
Range: British Columbia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2016
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status

Individuals of this species may be protected under Schedule 1 under another name; for more information see Schedule 1, the A-Z Species List, or if applicable, the Related Species table below.


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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Shortface Lanx

Description

Shortface Lanx, Fisherola nuttallii (Haldeman, 1841), is a small limpet-shaped (i.e., like a cone volcano) freshwater snail that reaches about 12 mm in length, 10 mm in width and 6 mm in height. It is readily distinguished from all other freshwater snails living in the Columbia River drainage of Canada and the US by its shell shape. The genus Fisherola currently contains a single species but is closely related to the genus Lanx, found in southern Oregon and northern California and a third yet to be described species, the “Banbury Lanx,” known from four springs in southern Idaho. Given its requirements for flowing, well-oxygenated, cool (less than 20°C) rivers, Shortface Lanx could be a potential sensitive species for monitoring aquatic environments. (Updated 2017/06/01)

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Distribution and Population

Shortface Lanx is endemic and restricted to the Columbia River drainage in Canada and the US. It has been recorded from the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon, the Snake River in Idaho and Oregon, the Salmon River in Idaho, the Deschutes, John Day and Imnaha rivers in Oregon and the Okanogan, Methow and Spokane rivers in Washington. In Canada, Shortface Lanx is known only from the free-flowing portion of the Columbia River in southeastern British Columbia extending about 14 km upstream and 6 km downstream of the City of Trail. There is a historical record from 1863 from the “River Kootanie East” (= Kootenay River) but no further specimens have been located from that river. (Updated 2017/06/01)

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Habitat

Shortface Lanx is typically found on the underside and sides (rarely on top) of relatively smooth rocks in large flowing rivers. The maximum depth at which the species can occur is unknown. The deepest the report writers have been able to find the species is about 0.5 m in both Canada and the US. However, it almost certainly occurs deeper, beyond the reach of searchers except those using snorkel or SCUBA. (Updated 2017/06/01)

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Biology

Relatively little is known of the biology or life history of Shortface Lanx. It is a hermaphrodite (both sexes in same individual) and lays transparent, suboval gelatinous egg masses containing between 1-12 eggs. In the Washington State portion of the Columbia River, egg laying occurs from April to June, and is correlated with water temperature rising from the winter lows of 4-6°C to 17-20°C in the summer. Growth rates increase as the availability of food and temperatures rise. The life span is about a year; adult mortality increases rapidly after egg laying and temperatures rise above 17°C. (Updated 2017/06/01)

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Threats

Shortface Lanx is threatened by natural system modifications through the effects of dams, invasive and other problematic native species, pollution from urban and industrial sources, and the effects of climate change and severe weather although water flow patterns are controlled by dams. Given its known limited distribution, it is susceptible to toxic spills caused by train derailment or truck accidents in close proximity to the river. The construction of dams throughout the Columbia River drainage both in Canada and the US has resulted in the formation of extensive stretches of lacustrine (lake) conditions which do not provide suitable habitat for Shortface Lanx and limit opportunities for dispersal. (Updated 2017/06/01)

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Protection

Federal Protection

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

3 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Shortface Lanx Fisherola nuttallii in Canada (2016)

    Shortface Lanx, Fisherola nuttallii (Haldeman, 1841), is a small limpet-shaped (i.e., like a cone volcano) freshwater snail that reaches about 12 mm in length, 10 mm in width and 6 mm in height. It is readily distinguished from all other freshwater snails living in the Columbia River drainage of Canada and the US by its shell shape. The genus Fisherola currently contains a single species but is closely related to the genus Lanx, found in southern Oregon and northern California and a third yet to be described species, the “Banbury Lanx,” known from four springs in southern Idaho. Given its requirements for flowing, well-oxygenated, cool (less than 20°C) rivers, Shortface Lanx could be a potential sensitive species for monitoring aquatic environments.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Shortface Lanx (2017)

    This limpet-like freshwater snail is globally confined to the Columbia River basin. Historically known from the 1800s, the first recent evidence of the species in Canada was the discovery of a broken shell in the Columbia River near Trail, British Columbia, followed by live individuals being found in the same area in 2009 and 2010. Searches in 2014 confirm the species still exists in this short, free flowing section of the Columbia River. It requires flowing, clean, well-oxygenated, cold water, but the numerous dams on the Columbia River and its major tributaries have converted much of this habitat into reservoirs. The species is exposed to a variety of threats from natural system modifications caused by the dams, pollution from urban and industrial sources, invasive and problematic native species, and climate change.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2015-2016 (2016)

    Over the past year COSEWIC re-examined the status of 25 wildlife species; of these, the majority (68%) were re-assessed at the same or lower level of risk. Of a total of 45 species assessed, seven were assigned a status of Not at Risk (two re-assessments and five new assessments). To date, and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 724 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 320 Endangered, 172 Threatened, 209 Special Concern, and 23 Extirpated (i.e., no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 15 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct, 54 wildlife species have been designated as Data Deficient, and 177 have been assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.