Malacology Research

The main research is on systematics and taxonomy of Palaearctic lymnaeid freshwater snails (Gastropoda: Basommatophora: Lymnaeidae). The shells of many species, especially members of the genus Radix, show a high intraspecific variability. This may blur the species limits and makes an identification by shell nearly impossible. Lymnaeid freshwater snails are important intermediate hosts in life cycles of many pathogens (for example in fasciolosis, bilharziosis, opistharchiasis). Therefore, a reliable identification is important not only to malacologists but also to parasitologists. Anatomical features of the reproduction system seem to be the most reliable characters for species differentiation. The morphological survey of this internal character complex is corroborated by molecular studies to clarify species limits.

A more regional based part of research is the monitoring of land- and freshwater molluscs in Saxony. In cooperation with Dr Heike Reise from SGN and involved hobby malacologists we are collecting and providing data on occurrence and distribution of the diffent species (see www.weichtiere-sachsen.de). As most parts of Saxony were not yet covered, it is a challenging task to explore these areas and collect specimens for investigation. In doing so, 23 species new to the Saxonian fauna were discovered between 1996 and 2013.