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The Cuban Snail (Polymita picta)

They are also known as The Painted Snail. These snails are said to have the prettiest shells in the world. This, however, has made them prone to over-harvesting. People harvest the snails in droves to sell as souvenirs and jewelry, which has made this snail endangered.

Physical Description and Behavior

These snails climb on bark and leaves, eating fungus, lichens, and moss that grow on them. They only live about 15 months and only breed during the wetter months of September and October. Also, they are hermaphroditic, although unable to fertilize themselves. They can fertilize others by stabbing them with a "love dart".

A love dart is a sharp needle that all snails hold in what called a dart sac. It is made with the purpose of sexual intercourse with other hermaphroditic snails. These darts are often done before copulation and sometimes after as well, and is mainly done to ensure the sperm's survival.

The shells of this species can be up to 20 millimeters (0.79 in) in length. It is mostly known for having a yellow shell with a white stripe through it can be a variety of other colors, such as orange, gray, white, green, and more! It is prized for jewelry making to sell to tourists, which is the main reason why their numbers are on such a steep decline.

Habitat and Location

These snails can be found mainly on the eastern shores of Cuba. They prefer coastal areas and subtropical forests.

They are considered an endangered species in Cuba. That said, they are not yet listed in the IUCN Red List. A report from 7 years ago requested this species to be included in the IUCN Red List, with no luck as of yet.

Check out more about this snail, and find more beautiful pictures, in the video below.

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