Title: The Florida Tree Snail (Liguus Fasciatus)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/FI06050122/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Florida Tree Snail (Liguus Fasciatus)
Physical Description: Archival
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- South Florida
Funding: Florida International Univerity Libraries
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: FI06050122
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Tree snail populations ae impacted by natural and manmade
procsses. They include predation, freezes, fire, hurricanes,
floods, &ouhts habitat alteration and pesticide spraying.

Predulers ikncle btds, the CWWQIo snail Euglanda, and
groundsscavenging animals suh as raccoons, opossums,
armadillos, land crabs d ans.

The tree nails fragile shell offers little production from cold
weather a i-ch limits their survival north of their current rage
Although ire is a necessary copnent of the south Florida
co systm, natural wildfire ar often extinguished because of
danger to property or tnaic visibility. The resulting buildup of
vegetation produces intense fires which may kil snails and
destroy hammocks Man-caused ires occurring outside the
natural fire sason my be equally destructive

raibsefktt iikr tel rifk mLtAii am S htbhfiAt to Wamp
(Au W". (FAvbyyJawsffPfn)

Natural ses, hk fire and hurricanes, may have impacts
on tree snail habitat bt e often necessary for its long-telr
mainenance. Many species in south Florida have adapted to
suh events.

The series of manmade canals and water control struurcs in
south Florida hav altered the nural flow of water. Human
manipulation of after and its concentration in the remaining
wetlands ec impact the Florida tr snail by being too wet or
too dry at the wong tine of year

Folding during the winter monhs will kill eggs hat had be
laid in the leaflitter the previous f Ext d droughts may
desiccate the snails i spite of her protective al.

Faelid awt w amis (pi fby Pif RIppt]

The loss of habitat by land development probably has had the
most impact on snail populations. The effects of a bulldozer
need not be explained, and it continues today in unprotected
portions of the snails range

In the mix of public and private land outside of the federal
parks, the saying of pesticides for mosquito and crop pest
control may kill Florida tree snails Even if some hammocks
are in public neshipwhere direct spraying is prohibited,
aerial drift occurs.


Florida tree snails are listed by the Florida Game and Fresh
Water Fish Commission as a Species ofSpecial Concern"
This categy indicates that they warrant special attention
because of their restricted range and their vulnerability to
exploitation or enirot mental changes.

In 1885, even before the Overseas Railroad and the invention
ofswamp buggies facilitated access into south Florida and the
Keys, individuals such as Charles T. Simpsor collected his firs
Liguus. It became a hobby for many and an obsession for some.

Cuilting occurred in Everglades until it became a national
prk in 1947, nd i Big Cyp Nalional Prescrve until 1989.
Today, llecting is not pnmitted on public or private lands in
south Flrida.

Between 1957 and 1980, a cooperative project between the
National Park Service and mail collctors resulted in the

mtruduciion of 51 color forms into Everglades National Park
and Big Cypress National Presere, Since den, several of these
have been lost frm their original hanmmcks due t land


Most of the past re rch on LigMs has focused on the
laewnomy and distrihurin of color varieties. Current research
is shifting to the ecology of tree snails and how management
actions will influence their survival,

Many issues eurratiy face land
managers in south Florida.
Ecosystem restoration requires
knowledge of the act of -.
water and fire management
decisions on all cnponents of
the system. Research on plants
ad animals, such as the
Flurida tree snail, enhances
wise decision-making by those
tasked as stewards of the south (phoe yf I'ipp )
Florida ecosystem.

A cknowledgments

Thi brochure is dedicated to Archie Jones who has devoted a
lifetime to tndersanding and protecting Liguus ree snails. His
devotion is unyielding, his knowledge of Liguus unsupassed,
and his effons greatly appreciated.

We also wish to recognize some of the other dedicated
individuals who have made significant contributions to the
pryn-tixn f the Ligus tree snil in south Florida. We thank
Wilham J. Clcanh, Ralph H. Hunes, F A. Pilsbry, Charles T.
Simpson C, C. Von Paulse and Erwin Winte for the time and
tffot the' unselfishly gave so that future generations can
marvel at .he porcelain-like oan of the south Florida

This brochure was gatlly improved by the commn t and
suggestions of Archie Jones, Fred Dayhof, Sandy' DayhoiT.
and Sonny Bass

Curer kwu qfw~ rfRTvj~ls& fry SunpJar


1 o1 raCinRy Miti jrn tso abj RSr k i il


The Fkida ire ail (Liguufasciatus) is a molluk at lives
in a colorful, cne-shaped shell. rs to two inches in
length, on a'vcrag, but may reach three. The shell sie and
ihicknnss vary ith location, color 'ariei(, food, and lime of

Fifty-nine color varieties of
the Florida tree snail have
heen described. Scwcrnl arec
now extinc and other are
cxtrcmely rare. They rage
in color and patic-m frow
white to black, solid to
banded, dull to glo sy, Vivid
yellows, browns, bue, and
geens are oALr n diplayd as
stripes, flames, and washes.
Spradi d rpm Phe s Pald TiksJ

SThe rats of lsme varitics det-ribe how they look. Others
were named for individuals or ie location where found. For
example, defical m evokes a sense of daintiness, winte for its
fonder E win Winic, Eerglde's first park ranger, and
maecumbensi for Upper Matecumbe Key where it was first


Liguus re native to Cuba, Hispaniola, the Ise of Pines and
Florida. It is widely acc~ted that they originated from Cuba,
hut it is unclear how thcv arrived in south Florida. The lackof
early fossil evidence of Liguus in Florida suggest that its
arrival was relatively recent in geologic time.

The former range of Lignts exended from Key Wsi north to
Boca Raton and west to Marco Island. habitatt destruction,
lhnever, las nLmled that range to a few islands in the Florida
Keys and the Ten Thousand Islands, small Atlantic Coastal
Ridge populations, and larger populatiuns in Everglades
National Par and Big Cypress Naftioal Preseve. Because the
snail is vulnerable to man, fire, flood, and frecre, its chances
for expansion or protection outside of south Florida's public
tands are poor.


Florida tree nails a found on tropical and sub-tropical
hardwood trees. Groups of such Irms are called a cks
which are often isolate by waler or vegetation such a-.
sawgrass, buttonwood, cypress, or pines.

LFwa arr fmow m ir idmdkme wu ha mm (Pwa y seI

The tees preferred by the
snails ae wild tamarind
(.ysi.toma fati.,iliqua) and
Jamaica dogwood (Piscidia
piscipula). Other conuonly
used trees include poisonwood
(Aetopium t:oxfenam), pigeon
plum (Coccoloba dversfolia),
and members of the stopper
(Eugenia spp.) family

14W IM M p'MF O r by Seen'


Florida tree snails
exhibits an annual
cycle having active
and inactive periods.
They are ot active
v.hen moisture levels
are high, which
occurs during
lorida's wet season.
Snails hatch, feed,
jrow, male, and lay eggs during this time. During the dry
season. hcv sal thcm.sclvcs to tree trunks and branches to
conserve vital body moisture and are in a state of inactivity,
called aestivation. They may temporarily emerge from
activation, however, if rains occur during the dry seasn.

She growth starts and slops
with the wet and dry seasons
producing a visA le nnua
growth n, called a 'varix",
much like a gronh ring on a
tree. One ca use iese sea
to determine a sn ails ag if
care is taken nt to count
minor sars resulting rom
broken shells orsea n
spurts .of Iny I7 Mr ITc ise P.
(Pclo by PAWi aTu,

Flrida re ~ns live four or five years on average, but som
he b recorded at nine ye They reach sexual maturity
in two t the year. m Like m-ny snails, Liguu are
hermaphroditic, meaning tuy havr both male a female sex

Courtship a mating occur in
the late summer or early fal.
Three to four weeks later, the
female burows up to the
length of her shell into the leaf
lir ofthe hamnmock floor and
lays up to 50 elliptical, pea-
sized eggs. The young snails
called buttons, hatch at the
beginning of the rainy season.
Adults also emege from Tm nua IrIry (p
aestivation at this time and the
cycle begins anew.


Florida tree snails f on the
minute lichens, algae~ and
fun that grow on the bark
ad leaves of trees. They feed
by slowly roving forward,
swaying from side to side,
apning the surface with their
radulac, a sail's version of
tcLChC It is thought that this
type of feding is one reason
'm ,a rrot ,a sOr' stem sar for the preference for smooth-
barked trees. Rough-barked
trees would be more difficult to scrape for foo& The presence
of "feeding trails" on the bark of host trees indicates that Iree
snails are nearby

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