The colorful Liguus shells
While digitizing the DMNH Mollusk collection, Larry Van Stone delves into some of the intriguing stories of the shells on the shelves. Larry has worked through several families of terrestrial gastropods (land snails and tree snails). “Many of these are quite inconspicuous, being small and not colorful, though they are in general a little more various than the little brown mud snails (freshwater gastropods) I worked with for most of 2016,” he recently wrote in his blog.
The colorful Liguus shells from the Caribbean and Florida are a popular exception. “Liguus fasciatus has many varieties, usually called color forms,” he continued. “They hybridize freely, but a particular color form is usually physically separated from most others, being endemic to a few hammocks, as small patches of raised and heavily vegetated ground are known in the area. These shells are so sought after that, though they are prolific and widespread, many color forms are getting hard to find. In the southeast U.S. and the Caribbean, a whole subset of shell collectors are called Liguus collectors.”