Bioerosion of shells by terrestrial gastropods
Article first published online: 29 MAR 2007
Volume 32, Issue 3, pages 253–260, September 1999
How to Cite
CADÉE, G. C. (1999), Bioerosion of shells by terrestrial gastropods. Lethaia, 32: 253–260. doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.1999.tb00543.x
- Issue published online: 29 MAR 2007
- Article first published online: 29 MAR 2007
- 17th March, 1999; revised 29th September, 1999.
- vertebrate bones
Empty shells of terrestrial gastropods remain intact and become fossilized only under particular conditions. The usually thin shells are readily dissolved by rainwater, a process starting often during life. Results indicate that with this chemical weathering they may lose some 1% in weight per month. But this is not the only process by which shell biominerals disappear. During field experiments, living terrestrial gastropods have been observed to actively remove calcareous material from empty shells apparently to use for building their own shell. Empty shells lost ∼30% of their weight in 2 months, indicating this process to be much more important than simple dissolution, and explaining the rapid disappearance of empty shells in the field. Previously, mainly anecdotal mention has been made of this shell scraping. Bones of birds were not scraped by terrestrial gastropods; they lost ∼1% in weight per month at the start due to chemical weathering alone, but weight loss decreased with time and was only 6.5% after 16 months.