Posted: Jan 7 2007

 Vitta usnea (Röding, 1798),  Olive Nerite

Syn: Neritina reclivata

Discussion of name: Well, I’ve heard from several about the correct name to use for this shell. The name I used (Neritina usnea) was from Common and Scientific Names of Aquatic Invertibrates from the United States and Canada: Mollusks, 2nd Ed., 1998, American Fisheries Society Special Publication 26, Bethesda, Maryland. I rely on this publication as a baseline for most of the names I use. Harry Lee points out that this shell was first identified as Nerita usnea Röding, 1798. Harry indicates that apparently in 1822 Thomas Say described a shell as Theodoxus reclivatus Say, 1822 and commented that “I found this species in great plenty, inhabiting St. John’s river in East Florida, from its mouth to Fort Picolata, a distance of one hundred miles, where the water was potable.” Although the species name reclivatus Say, 1822 (updated to reclivata Say, 1822) is commonly acknowledged as a junior synonym to usnea Röding, 1798, for some reason Say’s name has persisted with most authors. Then, in 1974 Porter (and later others) placed the shell in Neritina and resurrect Röding’s second binomial name of usnea. However, while apparently many authors placed this shell in Neritina they continued to use the species name reclivata Say, 1822. Then, somewhere around 1990 some authors placed this species in the Neritidae freshwater genera Vitta. As I understand, names and classifications for Neritidae are currently in a bit of turmoil and under revision. So, when I initially named this essay, I relied upon Mollusks and went with Neritina usnea with a subtitle of “Also known as Neritina reclivata,” since most collectors know this name best. In conclusion, I’ve adopted Vitta to be consistent with Tom Eichhorst’s uncomimg book on world-wide Neritidae.

Range (In Florida)

V. usnea is found on both sides of Florida. I have no records of it from the Keys, which would be consistent with its habitat requirement of an associated outflow of fresh water. A recent inquiry of Conch-Ler's resulted in the following reports of V. usnea in Florida.


Bill Clendenin - A very dead N. reclivata in the spoil from intercostal waterway dredging below Venice Airport (Sarasota County).
Mike Schenk - I have observed N. reclivata by the hundreds over the past six years alive on bridge pilings and tree stumps partially submerged on the St. Marks river about a mile upstream from the Appalachicola Bay (near Tallahassee, FL).
Peggy Williams - N. reclivata is common in Philippi Creek in Sarasota - upriver in fresh water at least.
Doug Shelton (Alabama Malacological Research Center) - We have Neritina usnea (=reclivata) very abundant throughout NW Florida.
A. Powers, Jr. - In 17 years I've found one N. reclivata (dead) in Volusia Co.
Trish Hartmann - No reclivata on the east coast.
Trish Hartmann reporting for
Leslie Skibinski of the Delaware Museum of Natural History and their records of N. usnea in Florida - 19 records (518 specimens): (arranged from south to north, Bonita Springs Lee Co.), Fort Myers Yacht Basin (Lee Co.), Lower Caloosahatchie River (Lee Co.), Venice (Sarasota Co.), Manatee River (Manatee River), Gulfport (Pinellas Co.), Hillsborough River in Tampa (including Sulphur Springs and Ballast Point; Hillsborough Co.), and Fort Walton (Okaloosa Co.).
Scott Schubbe - I collected a liberal amount of these shells at Oscar Scherer State Park, Sarasota, Sarasota County.
Bill Frank - Ortega River and Dunn Creek just off the St. Johns River, Duval County
José H. Leal (Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum) - The collection of Sanibel/Captiva mollusks includes one citation as follows, BMSM 5620: Neritina reclivata, Sanibel River, Sanibel Island, 2 specimens, R. Gunderson, Feb. 1958.
Leslie Allen - Common at Crystal River Springs ... very large ones too I might add!
Henk K. Mienis - Here are the data of six samples belonging to the Neritidae from West Florida, which were once in my collection. Most of them are now in the Zoological Museum of Amsterdam. Panama City, leg. H. & M. Minzak, Oct. 1964;
Spring Creek on the Gulf State Road # 365, South Tallahassee leg. F. Hausman;
Tampa, leg. W.J. Clench, before 1947; Tampa bay, leg. H. & M. Minzak, January 1965; Water Dept. Spring, Henderson St., Tampa, leg. R.T.Abbott, 28 January 1970; and Apalachicola River, leg. G.D. Gordon, 17 February 1980.
And, on 9/13/13,
Andy Noturus of Key West reported, "This past week was windy and the water was all churned up so no snorkeling. I decided to just walk the beach on Ohio Key. There was a lot of grass and debris on the hightide line. In it was a clump of those reeds that wash in from time to time. They look like the root mass maybe. Breaking it apart I found 3 nerites Vitta usnea. Dead but recognizable. These obviously washed in from elsewhere."

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