Our photo of the week is this beautiful Powelliphanta snail, a large, air-breathing, carnivorous land snail endemic to New Zealand.
Their shells come in an array of colours and patterns, ranging from hues of red and brown to yellow and black. Their favourite prey is earthworms, but they are also known to eat slugs. Powelliphanta snails are an integral part of New Zealand’s unique fauna, and were as important in evolutionary terms as kiwi, kākāpō or moa.
Predation and habitat loss are the major threats to this species, although their outlook is improving with DOC undertaking work to protect these snails on the West Coast through long-term monitoring, translocation and captive breeding.
This photo that was taken by DOC’s John Mason.