If you are amongst the myriad birders that migrate south to Florida to gawk over some of the Sunshine State's specialty birds, you must thank snails. But all is not well in the world of these univalved gastropods, as we shall see.
Windrows of apple snail shells litter the edge of a Florida marsh. I believe that all of these shells are of the introduced Island Apple Snail, Pomacea insularum. This invader, native to South America, has colonized much of peninsular Florida and can be locally abundant.
Florida Tree Snails enter a period of aestivation, or dormancy, in December. They scale the trunks of smooth-barked trees, and once a favorable spot is found secure themselves tightly to the tree by forming an airtight, cementlike bond at the shell opening. As the snails often select eye-level resting locales they're easily noticed.
At least 58 color varieties of Florida tree Snail have been noted, and some of them are incredibly showy; Gastropodian gems of dazzling ornateness. Greedy collectors have killed off some of these forms, and any Florida Tree Snail, whether it be a Plain Jane or rainbow of color, should be left unmolested.