FLORIDA TREE SNAIL
Similar Species: The two species of Orthalicus living in Florida are superficially similar to Liguus fasciatus, but have thinner, more capacious shells. Florida Keys tree snail (Orthalicus reses) has axially (vertically) oriented brown streaks. The banded tree snail (Orthalicus floridensis) has three spiral chestnut bands that can resemble Liguus faciatus, but has a chestnut-colored apex and columella.
Habitat: Tropical hardwood hammock (rockland hammock). This species prefers smooth-barked trees. On the mainland it utilizes wild tamarind (Lysiloma latilisiquum), poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum), gumbo limbo (Bursera simarouba), and mastic (Mastichodendrum foetidissimum). Additional host trees in the Keys are Jamaican dogwood (Piscidia piscipula), pigeon plum (Coccoloba diversifolia), ironwood (Krugiodendron ferreum), and other hardwoods native to the Florida Keys hammocks.
Seasonal Occurrence: Dormant December - April or May (depending on length of dry season and local conditions).
Florida Distribution: Occurs from Broward and Collier counties south through the Keys. L. f. matecumbensis is restricted to Matecumbe Key; L. f. septentrionalis was eliminated from its natural range in Broward and Palm Beach counties, but has been introduced into Everglades National Park (ENP).
Range-wide Distribution: Southern Florida, Cuba, and Isle of Pines.
Conservation Status: Protected within ENP and several local, state, and federal conservation areas throughout the Keys. Of the eight described subspecies, L. f. matecumbensis is least secure; many of the color varieties of the species have been exterminated.
Protection and Management: Prevent collecting in natural areas; protect remaining hardwood hammocks. Disturbance in hammocks can alter the microclimate, resulting in unsuitable conditions for tree snails. Maintain leaf litter accumulations at the bases of trees for egg deposition. Translocation recommended only after careful consideration of consequences.
Selected References: Deyrup and Franz (eds.) 1994, Pilsbry 1946.
Field Guide to the Rare Animals of Florida
Florida Natural Areas Inventory, 2001