Extreme Monsoon Rainfall Signatures Preserved in the Invasive Terrestrial Gastropod Lissachatina fulica

Prosenjit Ghosh, Ravi Rangarajan, Kaustubh Thirumalai, Fred Naggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Indian summer monsoon (ISM) rainfall lasts for a period of 4 months with large variations recorded in terms of rainfall intensity during its period between June and September. Proxy reconstructions of past ISM rainfall variability are required due to the paucity of long instrumental records. However, reconstructing subseasonal rainfall is extremely difficult using conventional hydroclimate proxies due to inadequate sample resolution. Here, we demonstrate the utility of the stable oxygen isotope composition of gastropod shells in reconstructing past rainfall on subseasonal timescales. We present a comparative isotopic study on present day rainwater and stable isotope ratios of precipitate found in the incremental growth bands of giant African land snail Lissachatina fulica (Bowdich) from modern day (2009) and in the historical past (1918). Isotopic signatures present in the growth bands allowed for the identification of ISM rainfall variability in terms of its active and dry spells in the modern as well as past gastropod record. Our results demonstrate the utility of gastropod growth band stable isotope ratios in semiquantitative reconstructions of seasonal rainfall patterns. High resolution climate records extracted from gastropod growth band stable isotopes (museum and archived specimens) can expand the scope for understanding past subseasonal-to-seasonal climate variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3758-3770
Number of pages13
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • gastropod
  • monsoon
  • paleoclimate
  • rainfall
  • snail
  • stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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