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Fossil Records of Marstoniopsis insubrica (Küster, 1853) Suggest Its Wide
Distribution in Central Europe During the Early Holocene
Author(s): Michal Horsák , Veronika Schenková & Barna Páll-Gergely
Source: Malacologia, 56(1–2):339-342. 2013.
Published By: Institute of Malacology
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FOSSIL RECORDS OF MARSTONIOPSIS INSUBRICA (KÜSTER, 1853) SUGGEST
ITS WIDE DISTRIBUTION IN CENTRAL EUROPE DURING THE EARLY HOLOCENE
Michal Horsák1*, Veronika Schenková1 & Barna Páll-Gergely2
The rare and endangered freshwater snail
Marstoniopsis insubrica (Küster, 1853) (Gas-
tropoda: Amnicolidae) today has a highly dis-
junct distribution in Europe (Fig. 1). It is more
or less continuously distributed throughout the
northern part of Europe (Glöer, 2002), where
it inhabits alkaline lakes and stagnant parts
of large rivers. Its status in Britain is equivo-
cal, but some occurrences there are clearly
modern introductions (Preece & Wilmot, 1979;
Kerney, 1999). Isolated records are known
from northern Italy (Cossignani & Cossignani,
1995) and Switzerland, but the Swiss site has
now been destroyed (Turner et al., 1998). The
great distance between the main and continu-
ous range of the species and the Alpine outlier
(more than 500 km away) led to the description
of two distinct species: Marstoniopsis scholtzi
(Schmidt, 1856) living in the north of Europe
and M. insubrica (Küster, 1853), from the Alps.
Recent work based on mitochondrial COI gene
of these two species showed that they belong
to a single species (Falniowski & Wilke, 2001),
with the latter name having priority. Falniowski
& Wilke (2001) suggested several scenarios
of postglacial dispersal that may have resulted
in this allopatric distribution. They suggested
that the modern distribution did not indicate
dispersal along waterways or other corridors
linking northern Europe and the Alps. They also
claimed that a lack of Pleistocene evidence
makes it difficult to reconstruct population
history and historical pathways of dispersal. A
new Holocene record from Slovakia, described
here, has been radiocarbon-dated to the early
Holocene adding to the short list of other re-
cords from central Europe, all of which were
hitherto poorly dated. These records can shed
new light on the origin of its present disjunct
distribution. Although rare fossil records are
known in central Europe from the Eemian inter-
glacial (Alexandrowicz & Alexandrowicz, 2010;
9 /RåHN SHUV FRPP WKH FULWLFDO HYLGHQFH
MALACOLOGIA, 2013, 56(12): 339342
1Department of Botany and Zoology, Masaryk University, CZ-611 37 Brno, Czech Republic.
2Department of Biology, Shinshu University, Matsumoto 390-8621, Japan.
*Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
for understanding the recent distribution are
needed from the time period after the end of
the last glaciation.
METHODS AND FOSSIL RECORDS
We abstracted all known published Holocene
fossil records of Marstoniopsis insubrica, previ-
ously reported as M. scholtzi. The earliest Ho-
locene record close to the modern distribution
has been reported from central-east Germany
by Fuhrmann (1973). Ten years later, Krolopp &
more records have been made throughout the
1988, 2000, 2001, 2008). Although none of
these other records have been radiocarbon-
dated, they appear to be early Holocene, mostly
Boreal or around the Boreal/Atlantic transition
(Krolopp, 1986). These ages are consistent
with the new record from southern Slovakia,
ZKLFK LV DOVR WKH ¿UVW IRU WKLV FRXQWU\7KH
a full Holocene succession through a calcare-
ous marsh, located NE of the village of Nová
Vieska (47°52’25”N, 18°27’44”E) in Slovakian
Danube Lowland. The age was determined
using radiocarbon dating of Carex sp. seeds
associated with the two shells of Marstoniop-
sis insubrica (Fig. 2) from 495–500 cm in the
uncalibrated date was 9760 ± 30 yrs BP (lab
code UGAMS 10035), which gave a calibrated
age (95.4% probability) between 11240–11165
cal. yrs BP using the IntCal09 calibration curve
(Reimer et al., 2009) in the OxCal 4.1 program
(Bronk Ramsey, 2009).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The early Holocene records from Hungary
together with the new record from southern Slo-
HORSÁK ET AL.340
FIG. 1. Distribution of Marstoniopsis insubrica in Europe based on available literature data:
Great Britain (Kerney, 1999), Switzerland (Turner et al., 1998), Italy (Boeters, 1973; Giusti &
Pezzoli, 1980; Dalfreddo & Maiolini, 2003), northern and central Europe (Falniowski, 1987;
of other three species of the genus Marstoniopsis in Europe is shown: MA, M. armoricana
(Paladilhe, 1869) known from western France (Pasco, 2005; Gargominy et al., 2011); MC,
M. croatica Schütt, 1974, recorded at few sites in Slovenia (Schütt, 1974); and MV, M. vrbasi
Bole & Velkovrh, 1987, known only from the type locality in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bole
& Velkovrh, 1987), which has been probably destroyed.
HOLOCENE RECORDS OF MARSTONIOPSIS INSUBRICA 341
southern present populations (Fig. 1). Because
of the presence of continental ice sheet that
covered much of northwestern Europe during
the last cold stage, it is likely that the modern
distribution of M. insubrica in most of northern
Europe is of postglacial origin. These fossil re-
cords can therefore suggest a possible dispersal
pathway of postglacial spreading from southern
refugia to the north, in a southeastwards direc-
tion along the Alps, thought the location of its
glacial refugia are unknown. Although they can-
not identify the location of refugia, they enable
us to exclude some speculations about the origin
of northern populations and also explain the
surprisingly low genetic differentiation between
northern and southern populations reported by
Falniowski & Wilke (2001). Their hypothesis of
passive long-distance dispersal by birds does
not seem to be parsimonious. During the early
Holocene, possibly up to the beginning of the
Atlantic period (Krolopp, 1986), the species may
have continuously occupied a large area from
Italy into northeastern Europe. The age of these
records, close to the end of the last glaciation,
might further support the hypothesis of perigla-
cial survival in the Pleistocene periglacial zone
of central Europe (Falniowski & Wilke, 2001).
Interestingly, the southernmost fossil record
from Hungary is located only 150 km from an
isolated population of Marstoniopsis in Slovenia,
originally described as a distinct species, M.
croatica Schütt, 1974. This raises a question
on the status of that species, a resolution that
must await further molecular data. In this re-
spect, another endemic species, M. vrbasi Bole
& Velkovrh, 1987, described from a single site
in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bole & Velkovrh,
1987) also requires taxonomic reconsideration.
The same is true for the fourth member of the
genus, M. armoricana (Paladilhe, 1869), known
from western France (Pasco, 2005; Gargominy
et al., 2011).
In conclusion, the records of Marstoniopsis
insubrica from the early Holocene suggest an
alternative model of postglacial dispersal. It is
possible, that this cold adapted species (data
in Falniowski & Wilke, 2001) survived the last
glacial maximum in the periglacial zone of
temperate Europe and also possibly south of
the Alps. After the deglaciation it might have
spread northwards, but left several isolated
populations in southern interglacial refugia
behind (Stewart et al., 2010). Similar postglacial
scenarios have been suggested for some cold
tolerant Vertigo species that display remarkably
similar distribution patterns in Europe (Kerney
et al., 1983; Schenková & Horsák, 2013). As
these four recently isolated southern popula-
tions of Marstoniopsis were originally described
as distinct species, further molecular research
is needed to resolve the question of their
refugial character. We should test a hypothesis
that these geographically limited species might
have originated from much wider distribution of
M. insubrica in central and southern Europe
during the Late Glacial and early Holocene.
We are very grateful to several colleagues,
who sampled the analysed profile; Anna
3RWĤþNRYiVRUWHG WKH VKHOOVRXW IURP WKH
samples, Eva Jamrichová prepared the mate-
ULDOIRU UDGLRFDUERQGDWLQJDQG2QGĜHM +iMHN
constructed the distribution map. Richard C.
The research was supported by the grant proj-
FIG. 2. Shell of Marstoniopsis insubrica (Küster,
sion (SE Slovakia); the material is deposited in M.
Horsák’s personal collection (Brno). Shell height/
width: 1.80/1.25 mm. Photo by M. Horsák.
HORSÁK ET AL.342
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