Thursday, December 22, 2005

ENV: Not-Really-a-Cat-Friday

Be sure to check out The Friday Ark at The Modulator.

It's been just cold enough for just long enough that i'm beginning to miss the sight of little fluttering things about, slime on the windowsills, buzzings in my night. And besides, PZ's always hollering for more inverts. So for today's Friday Ark i thought i'd throw up something cool, well hot actually, something that can't hack the cold weather quite like our furry backboned friends. And, with a little imagination, one could imagine these critters as ornaments on a Christmas Tree.

So, properly mooded up, let's take a trip to Florida and look at some of the variants of the incredible Florida Tree Snail, Liguus fasciatus, which, by the way, is not limited to Florida, but also occurs in the Caribbean, most notably in Cuba, where its diversity very nearly matches that of the various races and color forms found in the mostly-gone hammocks of the Everglades.

Part of my intrigue here has to do with rewatching Adaptation a couple of nights ago in prep for a more in-depth review -- of course, that has to do with orchid thievery in the Everglades. And so a little searching will reveal that there is some sordid history involved in the world of Florida Tree Snails; part of which involves the high prices they once commanded among collectors, and the resultant production of man-made hybrids to sate their ever-thirsty obsessions.

Here's a look at some of the rarer and more striking critters in this bunch, and down below are some links to various sites that have more information for those curious about this gem of the spineless world. And, if you have a hankering for more, check out Aydin Orstan's post on his mini-quest to find these snails last spring -- it's here at Snail's Tales.

Florida forms of Liguus fasciatus
L.f. crassus, L.f. capensis, L.f. delicatus, L.f. framptoni

L.f. humesi, L.f. lignumvitae, L.f. margarettae, L.f. matecumbensis

L.f. nancyae, L.f. ornatus, L.f. pseudopictus, L.f. solidulus

L.f. violafumosus, L.f. vonpaulseni

Two from Cuba
Left: Liguus fasciatus goodrichi
Right: a different species in the same genus, Liguus carbonarius


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