Belgrandiella (Belgrandiella dobrostanica)

Belgrandiella dobrostanica shell specimens
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Belgrandiella fact file

Belgrandiella description

GenusBelgrandiella (1)

Belgrandiella dobrostanica is a tiny, freshwater snail whose scientific name is derived from the Dobrostan Ridge of the western Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria, where this species was first discovered (2).

Snails within the Hydrobiidae family rarely have any colouration in the shell, which is ordinarily white (4). In Belgrandiella dobrostanica, the cylindrical shell is whitish to horn-coloured with a glossy surface and consists of four to five whorls which are slightly rounded (2). The umbilicus at the centre of the shell is closed, and the mantle is white (2).

Shell height: c. 1.8 mm (2) (3)
Shell width: c. 0.9 mm (2) (3)

Belgrandiella biology

Little is known about the biology of Belgrandiella dobrostanica. However, members of the Hydrobiidae family generally feed on organic debris and algal films on the surface of aquatic vegetation and rocks (5) (6). It is a troglobite, meaning that it can live its entire life inside a cave, although it is able to survive outside caves (1).


Belgrandiella range

Belgrandiella dobrostanicais endemic to Gargina Dupka Cave in Mostrovo Village, Bulgaria, within the western Rhodope Mountains (1) (2).


Belgrandiella habitat

Belgrandiella dobrostanica is found in a 20 metre stretch of a single freshwater stream near to the entrance of Gargina Dupka Cave (1).


Belgrandiella status

Belgrandiella dobrostanica is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Belgrandiella threats

There are not known to be any current threats to Belgrandiella dobrostanica. However, visitors to the cave may pose a potential future threat to this species through pollution and habitat degradation (1).


Belgrandiella conservation

There are currently no known specific conservation measures in place for Belgrandiella dobrostanica. Habitat monitoring should be undertaken in order to identify any long term threats to this species (1).


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Simple plants that lack roots, stems and leaves but contain the green pigment chlorophyll. Most occur in marine and freshwater habitats.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
In molluscs, a fold of skin that encloses a space known as the mantle cavity, which contains the gills. The mantle is responsible for the secretion of the shell.
In gastropod molluscs, such as snails, a depression or hole on the underside of the shell, at the centre of the whorls (the spirals or coils of the shell). It is present in many but not all snail species.
In animals, a spiral or coil in the shell of a snail.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
  2. Gloer, P. and Georgiev, D. (2009) New Rissooidea from Bulgaria (Gastropoda: Rissooidea). Mollusca, 27: 123-136.
  3. Georgiev, D.G. (2011) New species of Belgrandiella (Wagner 1927) (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from caves in northern Bulgaria. Acta Zoologica Bulgarica, 63: 7-10.
  4. Hershler, R. and Ponder, W.F. (1998) A Review of Morphological Characters of Hyrobioid Snails. Smithsonian Institute, Washington.
  5. Clark, S. (2004) Hydrobiidae. In: Perez, K.E., Claark, S.A. and Lydeard, C. (Eds.) Showing Your Shells: A Primer to Freshwater Gastropod Identification. Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society, Tuscloosa, Alabama.
  6. Barker, G.M. (2001) The Biology of Terrestrial Molluscs. CABI Publishing, Oxford, UK.

Image credit

Belgrandiella dobrostanica shell specimens  
Belgrandiella dobrostanica shell specimens

© Peter Gloeer

Peter Gloeer


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