Land snails are
some of the most brilliantly colored and patterned terrestrial
gastropod mollusks, especially those found in the
tropics. The Florida Everglades is the home to the boldly
Liguus fasciatus which have diversified into almost 60
color forms. Destruction of the snail's habitat and zealous
collection of the beautiful shells placed the species in
jeopardy. Since the mid-1980's, it is illegal to collect any
Liguus shells in Florida. Everglades National
Park has become the last refuge of these beautiful snails.
One of the many conservationists and collectors of
Liguus shells was Erwin Winte, the first Everglades Park
ranger. Erwin had extensive knowledge of the Liguus
forms and the dangers to their habitat. Along with other
conservationists, he was instrumental in reintroducing some of the
most unusual and rare snails back into the Everglades in order to
preserve the species. His work was recognized in 1954 when a
new color form was named for him - Liguus fasciatus (f)
To our delight, in 2003, Ray Starkey offered the
Museum a collection of land snails to the Zoology Department.
The shells were given to Ray by his uncle Erwin Winte. Among
the 9 color forms was one named for Erwin - Liguus fasciatus
(f) wintei and one color form that has yet to be named.
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