University of North Florida Nature Trails  - Jacksonville, Florida

   The Robert W. Loftin Nature Trails on the campus of the University of North Florida (adjacent to State Road 9A) offers three trails (cumulatively totaling five miles) which wind through 500 acres of natural habitat. The area also includes three man-made lakes (borrow pits) with the fill from the oldest of the two used during the initial construction of the university during the late 1960's. In addition to being open to the public, the lakes are used by university students for research, recreation, and environmental education.

Lake Oneida On The University Of North Florida Campus

    Pictured above is Lake Oneida On The University Of North Florida Campus. The view is looking to the west with island, bridge, and picnic area in the distance (2/6/2011).

Discussion:  Lake Oneida and the well maintained nature trails are easily accessible from the designated parking area located just inside the campus entrance off Interstate 295. While parking is free on weekends, the university charges a $3.00 daily parking fee Monday through Friday. A short walk quickly brings one face to face with such wildlife species as the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), American River Otter (Lontra canadensis), Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) (pictured below left), Florida Red-bellied Turtle (Pseudemys nelsoni), Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius barbouri) (pictured below right), and a wide variety of birds such as the Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Great Blue Heron [Ardea herodias], Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) and various birds of prey. For those of us interested in mollusks, the areas adjacent to Lake Oneida has a robust population of terrestrial species and the lake itself supports a thriving population of aquatic species to include the Florida Applesnail (Pomacea paludosa). A molluscan survey is underway and additions to the list below will be published as they become available.

Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake [Sistrurus miliarius barbouri]

Terrestrials

  • Strobilops aeneus Pilsbry, 1926 Bronze Pinecone
  • Strobilops texasianus Pilsbry and Ferriss, 1906 Southern Pinecone
  • Philomycus carolinianus (Bosc, 1802) Carolina Mantleslug (native slug -12/30/2012)
  • Helicodiscus parallelus (Say, 1821) Compound Coil
  • Glyphyalinia solida (H. B. Baker, 1930) Imperforate Glyph
  • Glyphyalinia umbilicata (Singley in Cockerell, 1893) Texas Glyph
  • Hawaiia minuscula (A. Binney, 1841) Minute Gem
  • Nesovitrea dalliana (Pilsbry and Simpson, 1888) Depressed Glass
  • Zonitoides arboreus (Say, 1817) Quick Gloss
  • Euconulus trochulus (Reinhart, 1883) Silk Hive
  • Euglandina rosea (Férussac, 1821) Rosy Wolfsnail
  • Drymaeus dormani (Binney, 1852) Manatee Treesnail (partial shell only - 8/20/2005)
  • Lobosculum pustula (Férussac, 1832) Grooved Liptooth
  • Polygyra cereolus (Mühlfeld, 1816) Southern Flatcoil (parking area only)
  • Praticolella jejuna (Say, 1821) Florida Scrubsnail
  • Belocaulus angustipes (Heynemann, 1885) Black-velvet Leatherleaf (slug not native to Florida)
  • Lamellaxis micrus (d'Orbigny, 1835) Tiny Awlsnail (not native to Florida)
  • Opeas pyrgula Schmaker and Boettger, 1891 Sharp Awlsnail (not native to Florida)
  • Bradybaena similaris (Férussac, 1821) Asian Trampsnail  (not native to Florida - single empty shell in garden - 5/28/11 and a second empty shell found near greenhouse -12/8/2012). The two may have arrived dead with purchased landscape plants)

Aquatics

  • Elliptio occulta (I. Lea, 1843) Hidden Spike
  • Uniomerus carolinianus (Bosc, 1801) Florida Pondhorn
  • Villosa vibex (Conrad, 1834) Southern Rainbow (dead in two feet of water near bridge)
  • Pomacea paludosa (Say, 1829) Florida Applesnail
  • Pseudosuccinea columella (Say, 1817) Mimic Lymnaea
  • Physella heterostropha (Say, 1817) Pewter Physa
  • Planorbella duryi (Wetherby, 1879) Seminole Rams-horn
  • Utterbackia imbecillis (Say, 1829) Paper Pondshell (introduced species not native to Florida)