The current status of Partula snails
Partula tree snails and the Euglandina threat
Partula snails Partula conservation Euglandina

The status of the Partula snail species

Partula snails were found on islands across the Pacific Ocean, from New Guinea to Polynesia. Some 150 species were described and those of French Polynesia became important in the study of evolution. They were among the first animals to be investigated in the wild for evidence of speciation in action, first with the studies of Alfred Meyer in 1899, then Henry Crampton in 1906-56 and finally the geneticists Bryan Clarke, Jim Murray and Michael Johnson from the early 1960s. This research came to an abrupt end in 1987 when most of the species disappeared (as Jim Murray reported in that year).

In the 1970s and early 1980s the carnivorous snail Euglandina rosea was introduced in a catastrophic biological control programme. Euglandina ignored its intended target, the large and tough giant African snail Lissachatina/Achatina fulica and instead devoured the small and tender Partula snails. As a result at least 50 species of Partula are now completely extinct, a further 11 survive only in captivity and just 5 species still exist in the wild in French Polynesia. The captive breeding programme for the surviving species has been in place since the early 1990s and many species have existed only in small boxes in controlled conditions for many generations. Efforts are underway to find a way of returning them to the wild. This requires new approaches to conservation and reintroduction as there is no realistic prospect of eliminating Euglandina. Instead, we must find a way of enabling Partula to coexist with its introduced enemy.

Current status of Partula on the IUCN Red List:

  • Partula affinis - Critically Endangered
  • Partula approximata - Extinct
  • Partula arguta - Extinct
  • Partula atilis - Extinct
  • Partula auraniana - Endangered
  • Partula aurantia - Extinct
  • Partula auriculata - Extinct
  • Partula bilineata - Extinct
  • Partula callifera - Extinct
  • Partula calypso - Critically Endangered
  • Partula candida - Extinct
  • Partula castanea - Extinct
  • Partula cedista - Extinct
  • Partula citrina - Extinct
  • Partula clara - Critically Endangered
  • Partula compressa - Extinct
  • Partula coxi - Data Deficient
  • Partula cramptoni - Data Deficient
  • Partula crassilabris - Extinct
  • Partula cuneata - Extinct
  • Partula cytherea - Extinct
  • Partula dentifera - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula dolichostoma - Extinct
  • Partula dolorosa - Extinct
  • Partula dorseyi - Data Deficient
  • Partula emersoni - Critically Endangered
  • Partula eremita - Extinct
  • Partula exigua - Extinct
  • Partula faba - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula filosa - Extinct
  • Partula formosa - Extinct
  • Partula fusca - Extinct
  • Partula garretti - Extinct
  • Partula gibba - Critically Endangered
  • Partula guamensis - Critically Endangered
  • Partula hebe - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula hyalina - Vulnerable
  • Partula imperforata - Extinct
  • Partula labrusca - Extinct
  • Partula langfordi - Critically Endangered
  • Partula leptochila - Extinct
  • Partula leucothoe - Critically Endangered
  • Partula levilineata - Extinct
  • Partula levistriata - Extinct
  • Partula lugubris - Extinct
  • Partula lutea - Extinct
  • Partula martensiana - Critically Endangered
  • Partula micans - Least Concern
  • Partula microstoma - Extinct
  • Partula mirabilis - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula mooreana - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula navigatoria - Extinct
  • Partula nodosa - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula otaheitana - Critically Endangered
  • Partula ovalis - Extinct
  • Partula planilabrum - Extinct
  • Partula producta - Extinct
  • Partula protea - Extinct
  • Partula protracta - Extinct
  • Partula radiata - Extinct
  • Partula radiolata - Critically Endangered
  • Partula raiatensis - Extinct
  • Partula remota - Extinct
  • Partula robusta - Extinct
  • Partula rosea - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula rustica - Extinct
  • Partula sagitta - Extinct
  • Partula salifana - Extinct
  • Partula salifera - Extinct
  • Partula similaris - Data Deficient
  • Partula subgonochila - Critically Endangered
  • Partula suturalis - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula taeniata - Critically Endangered
  • Partula thalia - Extinct
  • Partula thetis - Endangered
  • Partula tohiveana - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula tristis - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula turgida - Extinct
  • Partula umbilicata - Extinct
  • Partula varia - Extinct in the Wild
  • Partula variabilis - Extinct
  • Partula vittata - Extinct
  • Samoana attenuata - Critically Endangered
  • Samoana jackieburchi - Extinct
  • Compiled by Justin Gerlach: contact

    @jstgerlach

    Hosted by Island Biodiversity