Effects of treefall gaps on a tropical land snail community
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Land snails were collected from quadrats positioned outside and inside treefall gaps in the Tabonuco Forest of Puerto Rico to determine the effects of treefall gaps on the species abundance, richness, evenness, diversity, and distribution of land snails during the dry and wet seasons. This study also determined the importance of atmospheric and litter temperature, relative humidity, litter and soil moisture, slope, and substrate type in determining the spatial distribution of the land snails. Only two species, H. tridens and Â£.. caracolla. respond to patches created by treefalls. In particular, the abundance of R. tridens was higher in gaps, whereas that of Â£.. caracolla was higher in the surrounding undisturbed forest. Such differences in habitat use by ti- tridens and Â£.. caracolla may be attributed to differences in diet and body water loss rates. However, patchiness does not have a pervasive influence at the community level. In general, treefall gaps have little effect on the richness, evenness, diversity, and distribution of land snails of the Tabonuco Forest.