Hibernation and latitude in Helix (Cornu) aspersa: an attempt to integrateenvironmental restrictions to active life, length of stasis enduranceand metabolic costs


Abstract: Original data from a Mid-Atlantic population (43º19’) of Helix aspersa is discussed inrelation to literature and compared with the overlapping species Helix pomatia. An asymptoticrelationship relating length of hibernation period and latitude within temperate areas is described.This simple model predicts maximal hibernation periods of 7.5 months and no hibernationbelow~35ºN (r2= 0.89) for Helix aspersa. While lack or severe reduction of hibernation-linkeddormancy is usually accompanied by increased inactivity due to aestivation, maximal length ofhibernation in non-or scarcely aestivating populations would probably represent a fixed trait interms of supporting metabolic arrest that would be restricting the ability to inhabit colder areasfor this species.

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