Polymites - unique painted snails of Cuba
Categories: AnimalsBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/polymites-unique-painted-snails-of-cuba
Mollusks of land species rarely boast a beautiful shell. Even a magnificent fire snail, the dream of collectors all over the world, cannot surprise with a bright "house". But still there are exceptions. The polymite snails from Cuba look like they were painted by a cheerful avant-garde artist.
Polymites live in trees and can be found only in the east of Liberty Island. They are found exclusively in the forests of the province of Oriente and have long been a local attraction. The popularity of these mollusks among tourists allowed the Cuban authorities to exploit their image. Painted snails are emblazoned on postage stamps of the country, postcards and even on coins.
The color of polymite shells includes only four colors: yellow, white, red and black. But due to the fact that they alternate in different combinations and color stripes of different widths, it seems that all snails are different. Sometimes it's hard to believe that all these bright mollusks belong to the same species.
Scientists claim that the shell of each snail is unique, like a fingerprint. Interestingly, the colors and patterns vary depending on the place of residence. Snails in different parts of the forest can be completely different from each other. The locals are well versed in these nuances and by the type of polymite they can accurately indicate in which area of the province of Oriente this or that mollusk was born.
Polymite snails are small — the diameter of the shell of an adult mollusk does not exceed 3 cm . The diet of these creatures includes fungi, lichens, mosses and protozoan algae. In winter, they are inactive or even hibernate, but in spring, when the rains begin to pour, the polymites wake up and actively eat away.
Replenishing the reserves of nutrients, the snails mate. By autumn, females lay about 20 eggs at the roots of trees, among mosses. But the babies appear from the clutch only in the spring, when it gets wet enough. Often snail eggs become prey to insects, rodents and birds, so very few babies are born.
Polymite snails are popular pets among exotic lovers all over the world. Even their fastidiousness in food and exactingness to the conditions of detention does not stop connoisseurs of beautiful shellfish. Because of the great popularity and high price, painted snails were on the verge of extinction. In Cuba, they are protected by law, but this does not always stop poachers.
It is worth noting that snails, for some reason, are incredibly photogenic. Even the most ordinary views with nondescript shells in the pictures turn out great.
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