Distribution of native land snails in the Abel Tasman National Park

The Abel Tasman National Park is home to two endangered carnivorous land snail species: Powelliphanta hochstetteri hochstetteri (yellow based) and Rhytida oconneri.  R. oconnori is critically endangered, which puts them on a level with species like kakapo, Maui ́s dolphins and New Zealand sea lions.

In order to develop a strategy to protect the snails, we needed to learn more about their distribution. 

The Department of Conservation conducted a survey across wide areas of the park and the presence of shells and live snails was mapped. As both snail species are nocturnal and hide during the day, the surveys for these promising areas were repeated at night to see if the distribution of shells corresponded with abundance of live snails.

The results were encouraging.

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