Manus Island tree Snail

Description and biology

The brilliant color of the Manus Island tree snail makes it easily recognizable. Its shell, which is approximately 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) long, is intense pea–green in color. A yellow band runs along the suture, the point where the shell attaches to the snail’s body.

The brilliant green color of the shell is contained in its outer layer. As the snail ages and the shell wears away, a yellow layer underneath begins to show. Within the shell, the snail is tan in color with brown stripes running down both sides.

Biologists (people who study living organisms) know very little about the Manus Island tree snail’s feeding and reproductive habits.

Habitat and current distribution

This snail is found in the rain forests of Manus Island, the largest of the Admiralty Islands (an island group north of Papua New Guinea, of which it is a part). Biologists do not know how many of these snails currently exist.

The Manus Island tree snail prefers to inhabit the high canopy of the rain forests. During the day, it is mainly inactive. It is usually found about 16 feet (4.9 meters) above the ground attached to the underside of leaves of Dillenia and Astronia trees. It is also found on the leaves of large climbing plants.

History and conservation measures

The Manus Island tree snail’s shell has been traditionally used by Manus Islanders in decorations, and it is currently used in jewelry. In the past, large numbers of shells were either purchased by tourists or shell collectors.

Despite this, the primary threat to the snail is believed to be logging. The trees the snail inhabits are valued for their timber. Manus Island is still largely covered in natural forest, but approximately 11 percent of that is now open to logging operations.

If the cutting down of trees in the Manus Island tree snail’s range continues, reserves will have to be set aside to ensure the survival of this species.