O'ahu Tree Snail 
O'ahu Tree Snail
O'ahu Tree Snail
Cherie Glenn
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Area(s) Where Listed As Endangered:

Species/Common Names:
Achatinella abbreviata
Achatinella apexfulva
Achatinella bellula
Achatinella buddii
Achatinella bulimoides
Achatinella byronii
Achatinella caesia
Achatinella casta
Achatinella cestus
Achatinella concavospira
Achatinella curta
Achatinella decipiens
Achatinella decora
Achatinella dimorpha
Achatinella elegans
Achatinella fulgens
Achatinella fuscobasis
Achatinella juddii
Achatinella juncea
Achatinella lehuiensis
Achatinella leucorraphe
Achatinella lila
Achatinella livida
Achatinella lorata
Achatinella mustelina
Achatinella papyracea
Achatinella phaeozona
Achatinella pulcherrima
Achatinella pupukanioe
Achatinella rosea
Achatinella sowerbyana
Achatinella spaldingi
Achatinella stewartii
Achatinella swiftii
Achatinella taeniolata
Achatinella thaanumi
Achatinella turgida
Achatinella valida
Achatinella viridans
Achatinella vittata
Achatinella vulpina

Oahu tree snails are found in the mountains of Oahu Island in Hawaii and face extinction in the near future. There were once over 40 recorded species of the snail, but now all but eight (possibly seven) species are now extinct. Several of the species only exist in captivity at the University of Hawaii. Snails are mollusks that have coiled or spiral shells covering their soft bodies, and the shells get bigger toward the opening as they grow. The shells of adult Oahu tree snails are smooth, glossy and conical in shape and are 17 to 24 mm in length with five to seven whorls. Colorations and patterns vary according to species. Tree snails move very slowly by alternating body contractions with stretching. Their bodies produce mucus that reduces friction on the surfaces allowing movement. When snails retract into their shells, they secrete mucus that dries to secure the entrance of the shell and to prevent it from drying out in dry months.

Oahu tree snails are only found in the mountain ridges of Oahu Island where there are plenty of native shrubs and trees. They are nocturnal, spending most of the day in the trees and can live their entire lives dwelling on one tree where they eat fungus that grows on the leaves. All snails are "hermaphrodites," possessing both male and female reproductive organs, but they still need to find another snail to mate with. When the mating pair meets, one snail pierces the skin of the other snail with a calcified "love dart." The exact purpose of this is not fully understood but it seems to stimulate the other snail into exchanging small packets of sperm. After mating is complete the snails will produce eggs internally, which are fertilized by the sperm that has been exchanged. Both adult male and female give birth, and they give birth to live young.

Causes of decline include human settlement, overcollecting of shells, and habitat destruction. The species is also preyed upon by the introduced carnivorous snail, Euglandina rosea, which was originally introduced in the area to help control the population of another species of snail. A recovery plan has been drawn up in an attempt to save the species, and it involves the protection of its habitat and a captive breeding program that aims to introduce the snails back into the wild.

Status/Date(s) Listed as Endangered

  Scientific Name Status Listing Date Range
1. Achatinella abbreviataEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
2. Achatinella apexfulvaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
3. Achatinella bellulaCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
4. Achatinella buddiiEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
5. Achatinella bulimoidesEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
6. Achatinella byroniiEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
7. Achatinella caesiaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
8. Achatinella castaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
9. Achatinella cestusCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
10. Achatinella concavospiraCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
11. Achatinella curtaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
12. Achatinella decipiensEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
13. Achatinella decoraEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
14. Achatinella dimorphaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
15. Achatinella elegansEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
16. Achatinella fulgensCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
17. Achatinella fuscobasisEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
18. Achatinella juddiiEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
19. Achatinella junceaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
20. Achatinella lehuiensisEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
21. Achatinella leucorrapheCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
22. Achatinella lilaCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
23. Achatinella lividaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
24. Achatinella lorataEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
25. Achatinella mustelinaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
26. Achatinella papyraceaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
27. Achatinella phaeozonaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
28. Achatinella pulcherrimaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
29. Achatinella pupukanioeEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
30. Achatinella roseaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
31. Achatinella sowerbyanaCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
32. Achatinella spaldingiEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
33. Achatinella stewartiiCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
34. Achatinella swiftiiCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
35. Achatinella taeniolataEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
36. Achatinella thaanumiEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
37. Achatinella turgidaCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
38. Achatinella validaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
39. Achatinella viridansCR-IUCN1996Hawaii
   EN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981 
40. Achatinella vittataEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii
41. Achatinella vulpinaEN-US FWSFebruary 12, 1981Hawaii

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