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).
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).
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).
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/
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