A phylogeographical reconstruction of the ‘Viennese Snail’ (Caucasotachea vindobonensis), contributed by our working group, has been published recently. This gastropod species is currently distributed mostly in the Central- and Eastern European steppic region, and considered as one of the most typical steppic snails. Existing data suggest that invertebrate species of steppic provenance were widely distributed during glacial periods but underwent range contraction and fragmentation during interglacials into “warm-stage refugia.” However, most of what we know is based on insects, and data on the phylogeography of snails is wholly missing. With this research, our aim was to begin to fill this gap.
The reconstruction of ancestral areas suggests that extant C. vindobonensis probably originated in the Balkans and survived there during the Late Pleistocene glaciations, with a more recent colonization of the Carpatho-Pannonian and the Ponto-Caspian regions. In the Holocene, C. vindobonensis colonized between the Sudetes and the Carpathians to the north, where its recent and current distribution may have been facilitated by anthropogenic translocations. These data suggest that C. vindobonensis is neither a real ‘steppic’ nor a real ‘Viennese’ snail, just a Holocene newcomer in the steppic region.

Kajtoch, Ł., Davison, A., Grindon, A., Deli, T., Sramkó, G., Gwardjan, M., Kramarenko, S., Mierzwa-Szymkowiak, D., Ruta, R., Ścibior, R., Tóth, J. P., Wade, C., Kolasa, M., Egorov, R. V., & Fehér, Z. (2017). Reconstructed historical distribution and phylogeography unravels non-steppic origin of Caucasotachea vindobonensis (Gastropoda: Helicidae). Organisms Diversity & Evolution, 17(3), 679–692. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13127-017-0337-3