Wednesday 22 May
Pondoland cannibal snail (Natalina beyrichi)
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Pondoland cannibal snail fact file
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Pondoland cannibal snail description
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).
- Shell diameter: up to 60 mm (2)
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 rangeTop
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).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 conservationTop
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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.
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.
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- A flexible tongue-like organ in certain molluscs that has rows of horny teeth on the surface and is used to rasp at food.
- IUCN Red List (June, 2006)
- Inland Invertebrate Initiative: Database of Threatened Invertebrates of South Africa (July, 2006)
- The Trail of the Snail (July, 2006)
- Discover Life (July, 2006)
- Herbert, D. (2006) Pers. comm.
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