Florida tree snail

Liguus fasciatus

Photo: Judy Gallagher

Overall vulnerability:

lower vulnerability
higher vulnerability

Conservation status:

Species of Greatest Conservation Need

General Information

The Florida tree snail is found in the extreme southern mainland areas of Florida, the Florida Keys, and Cuba. When mature, the snail is usually between 2 and 3 inches long. These snails have been documented in a rainbow of colors, with over 50 color varieties named. Sexual maturity is reached at about 2 to 3 years of age, with mating occurring during late summer rains. Eggs are laid at the base of trees in small nests and young hatchlings crawl up the trees during the following rainy season. The Florida tree snail’s diet predominantly consists of lichens, fungi, and algae scraped from the bark of the trees they inhabit.

Habitat Requirements

The Florida Tree Snail typically lives on smooth-barked trees in the most southern portion of the state including the Keys. These snails prefer the rockland hammocks found within their southern range.


Climate Impacts

Florida tree snails are currently highly threatened by habitat loss and destruction. These snails are often at high risk of attack by fire ants that prey on the snails during periods of hibernation. Additionally, Florida tree snails are sought after by collectors interested in their colorful shells. Many of these existing threats including habitat loss and invasive species are likely to increase substantially in a changing climate. Like many species native to the Florida Keys, tree snails are also highly threatened by habitat loss linked to sea level rise and extreme weather events.

More information about general climate impacts to species in Florida.

Vulnerability Assessment(s)

The overall vulnerability level was based on the following assessment(s):

  • Standardized Index of Vulnerability and Value Assessment

    Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable

    The primary factors contributing to vulnerability of the Florida tree snail are sea level rise, presence of barriers, runoff and storm surge, alterations to biotic interactions, and synergies with development. Climate change could lead to the loss of food plants.

Adaptation Strategies

  • Protect coastal habitat through fee-simple or easement acquisition of areas serving as natural storm buffers.
  • Like many species endemic to the Florida Keys, this species is extremely vulnerable to long-term sea level rise. As such, development of a captive breeding program may be a necessary long-term adaptation strategy.
  • Controlling existing threats, such as invasive fire ants, is an important first-step adaptation strategy to increase the resilience of the Florida tree snail before climate change accelerates.

More information about adaptation strategies.

Additional Resources