A snail might not be fast but it won a very important race: becoming the first North American invertebrate to be delisted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)- a milestone moment. Below are some facts about this unassuming but biologically important creature care of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A unique tiny dusky brown Arkansas snail, the Magazine Mountain shagreen, is recovered and has been removed from the federal list of endangered species. The snail, found only in Arkansas, was protected in 1989 due to threats to its habitat. Protection under the Endangered Species Act successfully prevented loss of the snail’s mountain habitat, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that it is no longer in danger of extinction. It is the first invertebrate ever to be declared recovered under the Act.
The shagreen is a small, brown land snail with a shell one-third of an inch tall and half an inch wide. It lives nowhere on Earth but the loose rock slopes high on Magazine Mountain in Logan County. It prefers cool, moist conditions and inhabits the mountain’s north and west slopes above 2,200 feet. Today, the Magazine Mountain shagreen currently lives on 27 locations on Magazine Mountain, cumulatively comprising about 22 acres.
It was protected in 1989, and the Fish and Wildlife Service approved a recovery plan outlining the steps to save it in 1994.
In 2005 the Service signed an agreement with the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to protect the snail’s mountain habitat. The Service has also developed a monitoring plan to make sure the snail remains safe from habitat loss and other threats.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Endangered Species Act.