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Friday, May 27, 2022

Cuban land snail “Mollus of the Year”

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Frankfurt am Main (dpa) – It is particularly colorful and reproduces with an “arrow of love”: the Cuban land snail (Polymita picta) is the “Mollusk of the Year 2022”.

In the international public vote, the snail received the most votes, as the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung in Frankfurt announced on Friday. As a kind of reward, the genome of the species is now being decoded. So far there are only a few species of mollusks whose genome has been fully deciphered.

The large two- to three-centimeter animals are only found along a narrow coastal strip in eastern Cuba and are in danger of extinction. Cuban land snails are known for particularly colorful variations on their shells and for their unusual mating behaviour: the snail has a kind of “love dart” made of lime, with which mating partners are pricked to transfer hormones sexual. Snails are male and female at the same time, but they cannot fertilize themselves.

The species was selected from almost 50 applications and prevailed over other species of snails, mussels and the so-called scaphopods, among others. Cuban land snails have been said to feed on moss and lichen on the bark of trees, which helps keep trees healthy.

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