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Galápagos land snail (Bulimulus (Naesiotus) nux)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 14258691

Facilitate conservation action for an IUCN Endangered snail species by assessing its population status on Floreana Island, Galápagos.

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 14258691) - Galápagos land snail - Awarded $15,000 on June 01, 2014

Within the Galápagos Archipelago, the land snail fauna comprises 103 endemic species. Eighty of these species belong to the genus Naesiotus and form the most species-rich adaptive radiation of these islands (Parent et al. 2008). Twenty species (and eight subspecies) of endemic land snails are known to Floreana Island. According to IUCN criteria, three are Critically Endangered, six are Endangered, and four are Vulnerable, the remaining species need to be evaluated.

The goal of this project is to facilitate conservation action for Galápagos snail fauna by assessing its population status and undertaking baseline studies of distribution, abundance, and threats to survival. As part of this effort, data on land snail fauna are being collected, with particular attention to the Floreana endemic land snail Naesiotus nux. This will inform the conservation status of the species and provide an important baseline metric and survey methodology to determine changes in conservation status over time and response to proposed conservation actions including the removal of invasive, introduced rodents and feral cats. At the same time, invaluable data regarding the diversity of endemic land snails are being collected.

In November and December 2014, Dr. Christine Parent from the University of Idaho worked with Island Conservation and the Galápagos National Park to conduct fieldwork on Floreana in the Galápagos. Key results include (1) confirmation of rodent predation as a primary threat to Floreana snail fauna as evidenced from collections of predated snail remains in rodent-formed piles; (2) determination of endemic land snail population distribution ranges which were found in the majority of ecosystems across the island; (3) quantification of snail population density indicating that Naesiotus snail populations are low almost everywhere on the island; and (4) although it is clear from the abundant old shells found on the ground throughout the island especially at higher elevations, the areas of Cerro Alieri and Cerro Pajas remain the hub of current land snail diversity and density on Floreana.

The mission of Island Conservation (IC) is to prevent extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. IC prevents extinctions by working where the concentration of extinction-prone species is greatest—islands—and by removing one of the greatest threats to the continued existence of plants and animals there—invasive alien species. Once invasive species are removed from islands, native plants and animals, together with island habitats, very often recover naturally or with little management intervention.

IC began working as a network of conservationists in 1994 and became a charitable organization in 1997. IC works collaboratively with government management agencies, local communities, and other stakeholders in island archipelagos. Together we remove invasive species from islands, build local capacity to undertake science-driven management of islands, develop invasive species removal techniques, and conduct applied research to inform island conservation action. To date, IC and partners have deployed scientists to remove damaging invasive alien species from 52 islands for the protection of 994 populations of 389 plant and animal species. IC has a broad geographic scope with regional programs on islands in North America, South America, the Caribbean, and the Southwest Pacific. IC targets IUCN Red-Listed Critically Endangered and Endangered plants and animals as beneficiaries for our work.

Learn more about Island Conservation here!



Project 14258691 location - Ecuador, South America