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Coote & Teamotuaitau - Partulids on Tahiti: an interesting distribution among surviving populations

Partulids on Tahiti: an interesting distribution among surviving populations

Trevor Coote and Walter Teamotuaitau

Partulid Fieldwork Programme Consortium, B.P.2407, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia; partula2003@yahoo.co.uk

The extinction of numerous species of endemic land snails in French Polynesia due to the introduction of the carnivorous Euglandina rosea is a salutary lesson in panic biological control undertaken without adequate scientific field trials. Less than 20 of the original 70+ species of the family Partulidae survive on maybe a dozen of the original 17 islands which were previously host to partulids. Last year surveys were carried out in over 60 of the valleys of Tahiti. All of the populations found were of the Partula hyalina/clara sister lineage which previously accounted for only 5-10% of the individuals collected in scientific studies before the introduction of E. rosea. No individuals of the Partula otaheitana/affinis complex were found (over 90% of previous collections) in any valleys, yet these species still survive in many montane forest areas (over 1000 m altitude). Partula nodosa, with a previous distribution of just 7 valleys, is most likely extinct in the wild but persists well in captive populations. Partula filosa, Partula producta, and Partula cytherea (all previously with a single valley distribution) are almost certainly extinct, as are Samoana jackieburchi and Samoana burchi. Samoana attenuata, also surviving on Moorea, is very rare but widely distributed.


next up previous
Next: Fontaine - Endemism, introduced Up: Special Symposium - Pacific Previous: Clarke & Murray -
Peter Roopnarine 2005-04-12