Otala punctata (Müller, 1774) On Amelia Island, Nassau County, Florida

Otala punctata (Müller, 1774) In Situ (9/6/2006)

Otala punctata (Müller, 1774)

    Although native to Europe, this species has been introduced to the United States and includes a colony on Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, Florida. The species is also quite hardy and obviously is able to tolerate limited salt water exposure such as what happened when their habitat immediately adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean was sprayed if not inundated by salt water during Hurricane Jeanne in September, 2004. However, despite the long period of time that the species has been present on Amelia Island, no evidence has been found to indicate that the snails have crossed the nearby two lane road (A1A - South Fletcher Avenue) and colonized what appears to be much friendlier habitat on the other side. The snails thus far appear to be confined to to an eight house/lot area immediately adjacent to the beach.

    According to the Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Otala punctata has been present on Amelia Island since at least the 1970's and was subsequently confirmed by Dr. Harry G. Lee during July, 1993 when he rented a beach house at 1100 South Fletcher Avenue.  A thorough survey (and attempted eradication) of the Otala population on Amelia Island commenced in 1993 and was conducted again in 1994, and 1995 by agricultural personnel. In 1993 (August-November) a total of 4,105 specimens were destroyed. In 1994 (February-November) an additional 5,985 were destroyed. The total number destroyed during 1995 (January-June) was a much more modest 1,680. During a follow-survey on March 7, 2003 agricultural personnel destroyed an additional 353 snails - 351 from 1122 South Fletcher Avenue

    When this reporter initially visited the South Fletcher Avenue location during November, 2003, the epicenter of the snail population was the residence at 1100 South Fletcher Avenue. However, during successive visits over the years including the most recent on November 27, December 9 and December 11, 2007, the living snails are more readily found at the homes more north and south of this location. The number of living snails found during the aforementioned 2007 visits numbered in the dozens and not the massive numbers found by the agricultural personnel.

Addendum: During a visit to the area on 4/8/2008, two live Otala punctata were found on the residence at 1060 South Fletcher Avenue - a location one house/lot north of where the snails had previously been found.

[Click on the individual house numbers to view a street level image of that location.]

Mating Aggregation | Egg Laying

2003 Florida Department Of Agriculture Report (as Otala lactea)


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