Mud Snail found on Chailey Common 2016

4th February 2016

The rare Pond Mud Snail Omphiscola glabra has been found in a pond on Chailey Common in East Sussex. The discovery was made in December by Francesca Dunn, from the Freshwater Habitats Trust.

Mud Snail at Lane End.1 (2)

Pond Mud Snail is a small and delicate wetland snail which was previously widespread across lowland England and Wales. However, in the last 50 years it has undergone a significant decline and is now classed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.  The snail was recorded at the pond 22 years ago but had not been seen since.

The Pond Mud Snail likes clean, nutrient poor waters which tend to dry out in summer. Issues such as water pollution and habitat loss have caused this serious decline in numbers.

Mud Snails found by Francesca Mud Snails found by Francesca

Chailey Common’s grazed heathland ponds provide an important habitat for Pond Mud Snail. In fact, Chailey Common has been identified as a Flagship Pond site, as it is one of the best sites for ponds in the country.  Francesca is working with East Sussex County Council Senior Ranger Jo Heading, who looks after the site, to find out more about the pond wildlife there.

Andy Le Gresley, East Sussex County Council’s Rights of Way & Countryside Team Manager said, “I’m very pleased to hear that the Pond Mud Snail has been found at Chailey Common – thanks to Francesca and the Freshwater Habitats Trust for spotting them! It’s great to know that our management of the site is helping to provide a habitat for this rare snail.”

Flagship Pond sites support some of the UK’s rarest species and represent some of the least impacted most diverse pond habitats remaining in the country. There are historical records for many rare and interesting plant and animal species at Chailey Common, including the amazing Fairy Shrimp which magically appears in temporary pools and tyre tracks after rain.

Mud Snail Pond Lane End Ponds like this one at Chailey Common are often overlooked but in fact can hold many riches

Freshwater Habitats Trust is running the Flagship Ponds Project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to help local communities protect these special sites and the rare species they support. The project will include information and training days for local people who are interested in getting involved and learning more about Chailey Common’s wonderful wetland habitats.

What next?