Common Name: Scientific Name: Technical Description

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Common Name:

Scientific Name:

Technical Description:

Life History:

Range, Distribution, and Abundance:

Habitat Associations:


Conservation Considerations:

Other pertinent information (includes references to Survey Protocols, etc):


  1. Survey Protocol

  2. Key to Identification of the Species

  3. List of Pertinent References/Literature/Pertinent or knowledgeable contacts (required)

  4. Map of Range and Distribution (required)

  5. Photos and/or line drawings (required for botanical species and invertebrates)

  6. For rarer species, detailed site location maps and observer data (date, observer, UTM or other legal, etc.)

Date Completed:

Description of some of these items:

Technical Description:

Describe key attributes, including how to discern this species if similar to others. Can include “Identification tips”, addressing the key features used to distinguish this species. List similar species or “look alikes” and key morphological features that help to distinguish this species.

Life History:

Cover major aspects of the species life history. Identify time period when the species is reproductive. Also include a discussion of when the species is visible and identifiable.

Range, Distribution, and Abundance:

Describe the current and historic range and distribution of the species, particularly in the states of Oregon and Washington. Where possible, describe abundance in terms of rarity or commonness. Using physiographic provinces is recommended for botanical species. Identify Forests and BLM Districts where there are documented occurrences.

Habitat Associations:

Consider all life aspects of the species, including detailed reproductive habitat. Be as specific as possible.


Specifically address federal lands and management actions. These should be documented threats, or highly supported through observations.

Conservation Considerations:

Identify key potential actions to consider during project planning to minimize threats to the species (described above). Avoid being prescriptive; rely on the best science available to describe. If there is not science or information to support this section, do not address. Also identify potential actions that are known to benefit the species or restore habitat.

Other pertinent information (includes references to Survey Protocols, etc): Reference Survey Protocols, other species management guidelines, or anything that might be very relevant in the consideration of the conservation of this species.



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Species Common Name: Shortface Lanx, or Columbia River Limpit

Species Scientific Name: (Lanx nuttalli) Fisherola nuttalli

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Gastropoda

Order Basommatophora

Family: Lymnaeidae
Type Locality: “Lower Columbia River” near the mouth of the Willamette River near Portland, Multnomah Co., OR (Frest and Johannes 1995).

Technical Description:

(Egg, Larval, and Adult Stages)

Shell limpit like, up to about 13 mm long, 10 mm wide, 6 mm high, and with the apex prominent in the midline and placed close to the anterior end. Apex smooth. Anterior and posterior margins more sharply rounded than lateral margins. Anterior slope straight or concave. Posterior slope convex. Interior bluish or purplish in the central portion but whitish around the edge. A subovate muscle scar encircles the inner portion of the shell; this scar is continuous except for a gap on the right side. Periostracum brown to brownish black. External sculpturing consists of concentric growth rests, fine concentric lines, and more or less discernible radial striae (Clark 1981).
The relatively large and heavy shell of this species distinguishes it from all other North American limpits. The anterior apex scar will distinguish L. nuttalli from other species of Lanx (Clark 1981).

Family Lymnaeidae Description

From Burch (1982): The Lymnaeidae are world-wide in distribution, but their greatest diversity is found in the northern United States and central Canada. Their shells range in shape from the coiled, needle-like Acella haldemani to the uncoiled, limpit shaped Lanx and Fisherola. Those with coiled shells are easily distinguished from the Physidae by their dextral shells. No lymnaeids have planispiral shells, which immediately distinguishes them from the North American Planorbidae. The patelliform Lancinae, which occur only in the Pacific drainage region, can be distinguished from the Ancylidae by their much larger size and by the anterior rather than posterior shell apex.
The tentacles of lymnaeids are broad, flat and triangular, rather than being long, thin and filamentous as in Physidae, Planorbidae, and Ancylidae. Also, in contrast to the three latter families all Lymnaeidae lack a respiratory pseudobrach.
Life History:

(Egg, Larval, and Adult Stages)

Semelparous – lives 1+ year, breeds and dies. Population turn over is greater than 90% (Appendix J2 1994).
Freshwater pulmontates generally reproduce by copulation and cross-fertilization. Eggs are laid from spring to autumn in gelatinous capsules attached to plants, stones, or other objects. They lack a free-swimming larval stage, and hatch as young snails, anatomically complete except for the reproductive system (Hyman 1967).
Feed by scraping algae and diatoms from rock surfaces in stream. May occasionally feed on other plant surfaces. Present all year, but not active in winter (NatureServe 2001).
See the attachment at the end of this document for a general summary of freshwater mollusks that provides information on life history.
Range, Distribution (Current and Historic), and Abundance:

Historic – Formerly widespread in the lower Columbia River, Snake River, and a few major tributaries, WA-OR-ID (Frest and Johannes 1993). Frest and Johannes (1993) also report that this species “type locality” was the lower Columbia River near the old mouth of the Willamette River near Portland, and that it could have been from the Willamette River itself.

Current – The lower Columbia River populations are largely extinct due to habitat modification caused by BPA dams and impoundments although one occurrence is known near Bonneville Dam (from NMFS collections, 1990). Frest and Johannes (1993) also report that the species still survives in the Hanford Reach , Washington; the lower Deschutes River and John Day River, Oregon; part of the Snake River (middle Snake, ID; Hells Canyon, OR-ID); the Salmon River, Idaho; and the Methow and Okanogan rivers, Washington; see Neitzel & Frest (1989, 1992, 1993), and Frest & Johannes (1991a) for details. Many of these areas are on (or influenced by management practices on) federal lands, e.g. Hanford site (DOE), Deschutes Wild and Scenic River, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Okanogan National Forest, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mt. Hood National Forest, and Bonneville Power Administration.
No specific information on abundance found.
Habitat Associations:

Generally found in unpolluted, swift-flowing, highly oxygenated water on boulder-gravel substrate, often in the vicinity of rapids, in small to large rivers. This species sometimes occurs with Fluminicola columbiana (Frest and Johannes 1993). Individuals have no lungs or gills with respiration through the mantle cavity. Highly sensitive to low dissolved oxygen. Obligate lithophiles. Damage to mantle will be fatal (Appendix J2 1994).

Found in rivers, at least 30 meters wide, up to 100 meters wide (NatureServe 2001).

While the decline of this species is of concern, foreseeable, potential Forest Service activities are not likely to impact it significantly because of its occurrence in large rivers. Hydropower development on the Columbia River has destroyed much of this species former habitat. Also, irrigation diversions, siltation and fluctuations in dissolved oxygen caused by pollution have also contributed (Appendix J2 1994).

Frest and Johannes (1995) report the following threats: impoundment and damming of much of the original habitat; sedimentation; orchard runoff; nutrient enrichment due to agricultural practices, pulp mill effluents; metal smelting residues and discharges.
Conservation Considerations:

(1) Control siltation, (2) prevent fluctuations in dissolved oxygen, (3) consider buffers identified in Appendix J2 1994.

Other pertinent information (includes references to Survey Protocols, etc):

No known protocol, however Frest and Johannes (1995) provide information on collection techniques, tools, and preservation of specimens. This document can be accessed on the following web site:

(1) List of References
Preparer: Ramon Rivera

Date Completed: July 2, 2001

Modified by: R.Huff, March 14, 2005
Burch, J. B. 1982. Freshwater snails (mollusca: gastropoda) of North America. Environmental Monitoring and Support Laboratory. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Contract No. 68-03-1280. Cincinnati, Ohio.
Clark, A. H. 1981. The freshwater molluscs of Canada. National Museums of Canada. Ottawa, Canada. K1A 0M8.
Frest, T. J., and E. J. Johannes. 1991a. Mollusc fauna in the vicinity of three proposed hydroelectric projects on the middle Snake River, central Idaho. Final report to Don Chapman Consultants, Inc., Boise, Idaho. Deixis Consultants, Seattle, Washington. 60 pp.
Frest, T. J., and E. J. Johannes. 1993. Mollusc species of special concern within the range of the Northern Spotted Owl. USDA Forest Service. Portland, Oregon.
Frest, T. J., and E. J. Johannes. 1995. Interior Columbia Basin mollusk species of special concern. Final report: Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, Walla Walla, WA. Contract #43-0E00-4-9112. 274 pp. plus appendices.
Hyman, L. L. 1967. The invertebrates. Vol VI. Mollusca I. McGraw-Hill, New York. 792 pp.
NatureServe. 2001. An encyclopedia of life. Version 1.4. Arlington, Virginia, USA. Association for biodiversity information. Available:
Neitzel, D and T. Frest. 1989. Survey of Columbia River basin for giant Columbia River spire snail Fluminicola columbiana and great Columbia River limpit Fisherola nuttalli. Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories PNL-7103, 34 + xix pp.
Neitzel, D and T. Frest. 1992. Survey of Columbia River basin streams for Columbia pebblesnail Fluminicola columbiana and shortface lanx limpit Fisherola nuttalli. Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories PNL-8229, ix + 29 pp., appendicies. [draft]
Neitzel, D and T. Frest. 1993. Survey of Columbia River basin streams for Columbia pebblesnail Fluminicola columbiana and shortface lanx limpit Fisherola nuttalli. Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories PNL-8229, ix + 29 pp., appendicies.

USDA/USDI. 1994. Final supplemental environmental impact statement on management of habitat for old-growth forest related species within the range of the Northern Spotted Owl: Appendix J2 results of additional species analysis. Portland, Oregon

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