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Dec 6, 2012

Breeding Success of Polynesian Tree Snails

Polynesian tree snails (Partulidae) Global Species Management Programme

46 out of 65 identified species of Polynesian partula are extinct. Only 6 of the remaining 19 species can be found in the wild. IUCN recently re-categorised P t. Simulans down from Extinct in the Wild (EW) to Critically Endangered (CR).

Partulids normally produce a single live young although more than one neonate can be in the reproductive tract at the same time (at differing stages of development). The gestation period is around three months and 5-7 young can be produced annually. P t.simulans are cross-fertilising hermaphrodites and are ovoviviparous. Newborn snails are 1-2 mm growing to adulthood in 3-6 months.

During 2007 P t.simulans were only kept in two British institutions and were at perilously low numbers with 88% declines at Bristol Zoo and 53% at London Zoo which saw the entire captive population slip from 102 specimens in December 2006 to 13 specimens by December 2007. Species numbers did not recover from the declines for a further three years.

It was decided the entire population would be transferred to Edinburgh Zoo as a last effort to save them due to our success in breeding other species of partula. On the 15th March 2010 Edinburgh Zoo received the last remaining captive individual specimen. Fortunately this adult had been fertilized and after producing several new-born snails which died, young were produced that survived and thrived within our partula facilities. By March 2012 their numbers exceeded one hundred, and currently we have 25 adults and 115 Juveniles.


RZSS Edinburgh Zoo

WINNER of BIAZA Awards 2012 for Significant Contribution to Conservation Breeding

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