Bermudian snails - a baby breakthrough
Thursday 30 September 2004
The future is looking brighter for the highly endangered Bermudian land snail, Poecilozonites circumfirmatus. 56 of these little snails have been brought to ZSL's Invertebrate Conservation Unit at London Zoo
This project is part of a collaborative breeding programme with the Bermuda Natural History Museum to establish a 'safety net' population, which could be bred for future reintroduction to their native habitat.
A couple of months down the line, the initial signs are good. From the twelve adults brought to the zoo, dozens of young snails have been bred.
A 'little' known species
Until the snails arrived at the zoo very little was known of their life history, breeding and feeding habits. Information such as clutch size, incubation period of eggs and growth rates will all help Bermuda's conservation efforts for these remarkable snails. Research and breeding efforts are very much ongoing but the progress to date is a big step forward.
This species is now thought to be the sole survivor of a once diverse range of endemic Bermuda snails. Many species were driven to extinction by the onslaught of non-native species introduced by man from the 16th century onwards and this latest threat is thought to be linked to the predatory snail Euglandina rosea, a snail eating flatworm and possibly Argentine ants.
Being an UK overseas territory, Bermuda's threatened wildlife is of course of direct British concern and responsibility. Indeed, it is on the overseas territories where almost all of our internationally significant British species are associated - a prime example being this remarkable little snail.
Being only 10mm and living in leaf litter these tiny snails are easily missed. Why not pay a visit to London Zoo's B.U.G.'s exhibition (which houses our Invertebrate Conservation Unit) and in doing so you'll be helping the sole survivor of a once diverse range of endemic Bermudian snails.