Photo of the week: New Zealand’s native micro-snails

Department of Conservation —  22/01/2018

Here’s a little known fact about New Zealand’s biodiversity, we have a staggering amount of land snail species relative to the size of our country.

Photo: David Roscoe

It’s hard to get an exact number because most of our land snails are micro-snails and need to be viewed under a microscope, but some experts reckon there could be as many as 2000 species — over ten times the number found in Britain.

Photo: David Roscoe

Biodiversity Ranger Tim Quinnell recently found 84 different species of native micro-snails in just a couple of shopping bags of leaf litter near Archey’s frog habitat in Whareorino Conservation Area.

Sadly three species of introduced snails were also found, including ones that munch on our natives! It’s a timely reminder to check, clean and dry all your gear before venturing into the bush – do it for the small guys.

6 responses to Photo of the week: New Zealand’s native micro-snails


    Are there also lots of earth worms? Do the snails do the job of worms there?


    The common brown snail that was imported for escargot is now the only snail found in local garden. It is very prolific and very destructive. Small native snails are only rarely found closer to the coast.


      That’s right Tony, you’re not likely to find native snails in your garden. You’ll find them almost exclusively in native forests, along the coast but also inland – like at Whareorino Forest.


    Beautiful! Another world right under our noses. 🌱


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