- José H. Leal
Endangered Cuban Painted Snails
A recent feature in National Geographic online discusses the threats and pressures affecting the six species of Cuban land snail of the genus Polymita, commonly known as “painted snails." These species are arboreal (trees dwellers), and endemic (living only in that area) to Cuba. Many of their local populations were destroyed, initially by deforestation for agricultural uses, and are endangered by predation by invasive species and climate change. And their intrinsic beauty makes them serious candidates for over-collecting, mostly for the tourism trade. The species in the photo by Bruno D’Amicis, Polymita sulphurosa, is probably the most endangered among the six Cuban Polymita species. (One of the Cuban researchers quoted in the article, Adrián González Guillén, who has co-authored a great book on painted snails, has visited the Museum a couple of times to photograph shells in our collection.) Read the article here.