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Liguus virgineus, also known as the candy cane snail, is a species of air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Orthalicidae.[1]

It is the type species of the genus Liguus.

Distribution


This species is native to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), east of Cuba [2][3][4][5]

However, over the past 25 years there have been at least three separate reports of living specimens being found in the Florida Keys (Key Largo, Long Key, Key West).[3]

In one such report circa 1989, a U.S. Air Force Sergeant reported finding a living pair on a banana tree in his back yard while living in U. S. Government housing at Sigsbee Park in Key West. The two shells were positively identified as Liguus virgineus, but their live collection in Key West could not be verified.[3]

Habitat


The snails live on trees and feed on moss, fungi and microscopic algae covering the bark.[6]

Description


Shells of Liguus virgineus can reach a length of 30–60 millimetres (1.2–2.4 in). These small shells are oval-conical shaped, thin but robust. Shell surface is smooth and shiny. The aperture is semicircular. The background color of the shell is white or creamy-white, with thin bright spiral stripes of orange, purple and yellow. The aperture may be dark-grey or white-purple with scarlet lips.[6]

Conservation


Shells of these land snails for years have been over-harvested for the shell craft trade. The destruction of the forestal habitat and the commercial overcollecting could lead to the extinction of this species.[7] Now harvesting and selling these shells is forbidden by the law.

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