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Keywords:

  • climate change;
  • habitat change;
  • Land snail;
  • microevolution;
  • natural history collections;
  • polymorphism

Abstract

We compared shell colour forms in the land snail Cepaea nemoralis at 16 sites in a 7 × 8 km section of the Province of Groningen, the Netherlands, between 1967 and 2010. To do so, we used stored samples in a natural history collection and resampled the exact collection localities. We found that almost all populations had experienced considerable evolutionary change in various phenotypes, possibly due to population bottlenecks and habitat change after repeated land consolidation schemes in the area. More importantly, we found a consistent increase in yellow effectively unbanded snails at the expense of brown snails. This is one of the expected adaptations to climate change (this area of the Netherlands has warmed by 1.5–2.0 °C over the time period spanned by the two sampling years), and the first clear demonstration of this in C. nemoralis.