Wednesday, March 04, 2015

In search of snails..

Tree snails..

Everglades National Pak

Liguus Tree Snail: Liguus fasciatus

Appearance:

Gorgeous and multicolored inhabitants of tropical hardwood hammocks, tree snails, of the genus Liguus, are known as "living jewels." They are two to three inches long, and are found only in extreme southern Florida and the Florida Keys. Fifty-two native color varieties exist, ranging from white to almost black, wrapped in whorls of emerald green, chestnut, orange, yellow or pink.

Habitat:

During the dry season, they go into a kind of hibernation called estivation, fastening themselves to a branch and sealing their shells with mucus to prevent drying out. Rainwater softens this seal and out they come. If they are ripped from a branch during dry season, they will dry out and die.

Behavior:

Tree snails feed on algae and fungus scraped from smooth-barked trees, such as wild tamarind, pigeon plum, myrsine and bustic. They slide along the bark on a thin layer of mucus secreted from their large foot. Although found throughout the year, they are most active during the rainy season, from May through September, especially after a heavy rain.

Tree snails mate during the late summer rains, and lay pea-sized pearlescent eggs in nests at the base of trees. The eggs remain in the nest until the following rainy season when the baby snails, known as "buttons," emerge and crawl up the tree.

The tree snail is listed as a species of special concern in Florida. They are threatened by illegal collection of their shells, pesticide spraying and destruction of habitat. If you come across these delicate jewels of the hammock, please do not disturb them.

via Florida Fish and Wildlife

The tree snails are usually found in the hammocks dotting parts of the Everglades.

We took a five mile hike from our campsite to an area we were hoping we would see some tree snails.

We saw a yellowish tree snail earlier in the week that our friend Mariel found for us in an area that should have had more..

and…

I wanted to see more… 

I wanted to see the brown tree snail I had only seen in park photos.

So off we went …late morning

already hot.

P1090192

Most of the areas we walked were open..grasses and flowers

Sawgrass Prairie

(Red Milkweed)

P1090196A good place for bugs.

P1090194

 

I think this is a Phaon Crescent

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P1090206The path was pretty dry..

crackled dried up mud lined the trail which was once a roadway.

P1090208In the grasslands we spot butterflies and dragonflies

P1090209Halloween PennantP1090224We notice a few areas of limestone holes..

P1090228These areas catch the water when it rains and have their own little ecosystemsP1090229I was looking at the plants while walking by to see what bugs I could find.

This one was dead in a thistle….imprisoned

it was dried out.P1090233All that was left was its jewel of a body.

anyone know what this is?

I thought perhaps an Orchid bee

P1090236P1090238

Some of the plants we saw on this trail.

I haven't identified all of them yet.

Red milkweed?

P1090185P1090246

My little pamphlet from the park is limited…and so is my internet these days.

Saltmarsh Sabatia?P1090248

Beaked Butterfly PeaP1090251

Jeff and I found the first hardwood hammock..

We didn’t find any way to get into it.

So we retraced our steps and started searching the smooth bark trees at the edges of the road.

Low and Behold!

Do you see any up there?

P1090259I do…

Our first.

P1090256and then more..

P1090260 

Then I get very excited..

Do you see the brown snail?P1090263

My first brown tree snail....

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and it’s a beauty..

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The brown snail was the only one of its color we found on the trail

The others were cream and yellowish.P1090289

Different sizes..

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Do you spot the snail?

My eyes were now used to finding them..

We spotted over thirty in the area.

P1090295

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We decided not to continue to the next hardwood hammock.

It was very hot..

Probably low 90s.

This Gulf Fritillary was attracted by the color of my toes and or the salt on them..

P1090313It stayed on my foot for a few minutes..

P1090323

Then flitted away as I started walking.

 

We are still having a wonderful time here! We had some friends visit and explore with us this past weekend. We also went on a great guided canoe trip with a park ranger. More to come!

6 comments:

Susan said...

I think it looks like a wonderful place to visit and explore! I have added to my Florida bucket list, thanks!

Kerri Farley said...

Oh I am so envious of you!!!! Awesome shots of the snails! They are so cool...and of course I LOVE your butterfly sandals :)

The Furry Gnome said...

Fascinating! I've never even heard of these before.

Dawn Fine said...

Susan- oh good! One of our favorite places!

Dawn Fine said...

Furry Gnome- neither had I... So fun to find.

Dawn Fine said...

Kerri-you would love it there! I bet you could find sandals like mine there? ;)

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