Pondoland cannibal snail (Natalina beyrichi)

loading
Pondoland cannibal snail
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Pondoland cannibal snail fact file

Pondoland cannibal snail description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumMollusca
ClassStylommatophora
OrderRhytididae
FamilyRhytididae
GenusNatalina (1)

This South African snail belongs to a widespread family known as cannibal snails (Rhytididae), so named for their habit of feeding on other snails (3). These snails do not have jaws, but instead feed using a rasping tongue-like structure (radula) bearing long, curved teeth, a specialisation for their carnivorous diet (4). The Pondoland cannibal snail has a relatively flattened and visibly grooved spiral shell, which is yellow-ochre to olive-green in colour (2).

Size
Shell diameter: up to 60 mm (2)
Top

Pondoland cannibal snail biology

Very little has been documented on this snail’s biology and behaviour, which remain poorly understood, except for what little is known of its carnivorous diet (4). It has been noted that this snail is relatively common at localities where earthworms are also abundant, and it is believed that these comprise a significant proportion of the snail’s diet (2).

Top

Pondoland cannibal snail range

This South African endemic has an exceedingly narrow range, being known only from the Transkei region of the Eastern Cape (1) (5), from Mkambati Nature Reserve south to Dwesa Nature Reserve (2).

Top

Pondoland cannibal snail habitat

The Pondoland cannibal snail lives amongst the leaf-litter of coastal forests (2).

Top

Pondoland cannibal snail status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered

Top

Pondoland cannibal snail threats

The Pondoland cannibal snail is threatened by habitat loss and degradation within its coastal range as a result of development for tourism (1) (2) and mining, which threatens to open up this remote area to the ravages of commerce (5). The restricted nature of its natural distribution, and limited habitat availability, mean that this species is particularly vulnerable to habitat transformation (2).

Top

Pondoland cannibal snail conservation

This critically endangered snail occurs within the Mkambati, Hluleka and Dwesa Nature Reserves, where its habitat is afforded some degree of protection for the time being (2) (5).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Top

Find out more

For more information on the Pondoland cannibal snail see:

  • Herbert, D.G. & Kilburn, R.N. (2004) Field guide to the land snails and slugs of eastern South Africa. 340pp. Natal Museum, Pietermaritzburg.

Top

Authentication

Authenticated (13/07/2006) by Dr. Dai G. Herbert, Chief Curator: Mollusca, Natal Museum, and member of the IUCN/SSC Southern African Invertebrate, and Mollusc Specialist Groups.
http://www.nmsa.org.za/

Top

Glossary

Carnivore
Flesh-eating.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Radula
A flexible tongue-like organ in certain molluscs that has rows of horny teeth on the surface and is used to rasp at food.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2006)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Inland Invertebrate Initiative: Database of Threatened Invertebrates of South Africa (July, 2006)
    http://www.ukzn.ac.za/redlist/detail_page.asp?id=76
  3. The Trail of the Snail (July, 2006)
    http://arnobrosi.tripod.com/Rhytidacea.html
  4. Discover Life (July, 2006)
    http://pick5.pick.uga.edu/mp/20q?search=Rhytididae&guide=Groups_Mollusca
  5. Herbert, D. (2006) Pers. comm.
X
Close

Image credit

Pondoland cannibal snail  
Pondoland cannibal snail

© Dai Herbert / Natal Museum

Dai Herbert, Natal Museum
dherbert@nmsa.org.za

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Pondoland cannibal snail (Natalina beyrichi) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog