Partulid land snails have been unusually informative about the mechanisms of speciation, and recently they have become an exemplar of invertebrate conservation. Here we review the evolution and extinction of Partula species, with an emphasis on some unanswered, or partially answered, questions: 1) Where did the Partulids come from? 2) What caused the exceptional flowering of colour and pattern polymorphisms in Eastern Polynesia? 3) What were the modes of speciation, and how did the species diverge? 4) Why were the Partulids of the Society Islands so susceptible to the introduced carnivore Euglandina rosea? 5) How can we save at least some of them? 6) If we cannot save them alive, what else can we do? We will give some tentative answers.