Bishop Museum’s Annual Online Fundraising Auction, E Ulu A PA’A is now open for bidding!
Register and bid now through August 28, at 8 pm HST.

Help Save Our Snails!
Donate to the Hawaiian Land Snail Conservation Fund

Cover Image: Jan Kealoha (Captive Rearing Coordinator) with her favorite native snails, Kaala subrutila, endemic to the Waianae Mts. Of Oahu.

Habitat destruction, climate change, and invasive species are wiping out Earth’s biodiversity at an alarming rate.
a young boy sitting at a table writing on paper.

Image: We recruit and train the next generation of scientists to conserve and protect our remaining biodiversity and develop educational material for outreach.

The Hawaiian land snail fauna is indisputably one of the most diverse in the world in relation to land area, with more than 759 species in 13 families. Unfortunately, Hawai‘i also has the distinction of being a leader in extinctions, and Pacific Island land snails have the highest number of documented extinctions of any taxonomic group since in the last 500 years. The magnitude of extinctions among Hawaiian land snail families ranges from 50-100%, with groups like the wholly endemic Amastridae experiencing extinctions at a rate of 15% per decade.

Time is running out; more than 100 species are expected to go extinct in the next decade without this information and immediate intervention.

Land snails provide and maintain key ecosystem services, are important sources of food, and facilitate litter decomposition and nutrient cycling—all services and functions on which life in Hawai‘i relies. Native Hawaiian land snails do not eat live plants or seedlings, unlike many non-native snails introduced to Hawai‘i; instead our snails act as “farmers,” cleaning leaves and breaking down dead and dying material to be reused by native plants.

Our native snails also play important cultural roles in Hawai‘i—Hawaiian mo‘olelo tell of land snails as good omens and of them singing in the mountains, and the first land snail described from Hawai‘i was from a shell lei. A shell lei given to Queen Liliʻuokalani on her travels around the Islands provides evidence of the significance of these animals to Hawaiian culture and storytelling, with each shell coming from a different area of the island.

To conserve this vast and unique diversity, we need accurate and updated knowledge on their distributions, identities, and ecology. Time is running out; more than 100 species are expected to go extinct in the next decade without this information and immediate intervention. The Bishop Museum Malacology Department has been integral in Hawaiian land snail research and conservation for many decades. In partnership with collaborators, we have conducted the most comprehensive land snail surveys ever, rediscovering species thought to be extinct while uncovering species new to science. We have used these data to inform conservation policy and actions and help develop captive rearing programs for many species. The Malacology collection established a volunteer-based captive rearing program that aims to keep critically imperiled native snail populations from going extinct and helping develop practices to restore them into protected habitats. This captive rearing program maintains populations of more than 25 native land snail species, several of which are extinct in the wild.

two people in a greenhouse looking at plants.

Image: Jaynee Kim (Malacology Collections Manager) and Dr. Kenneth Hayes (Malacology Curator) surveying for non-native snails in Hawaii.

Your donation to the Hawaiian Land Snail Conservation Fund will support the continuation and growth of research, training, and educational outreach, and facilitate:

  • Biodiversity surveys for native and non-native land snails
  • Research into life history and habitat requirements of land snails
  • Student and volunteer professional development and retention
  • Public outreach, workshops, and infrastructure development for land snail conservation
  • Captive rearing program growth and sustainability

You can make an online donation to the Hawaiian Land Snail Fund in support of these efforts. Please direct donations to “Hawaiian Land Snail Conservation”. Mahalo for your support and gift.

For more information regarding the program, or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer or intern, please contact Malacology Curators Dr. Norine W. Yeung or Dr. Kenneth A. Hayes. We are training high school and college students and the public in all aspects of conservation, taxonomy, and museum sciences to better meet the capacity demands in these fields. No experience is necessary. Interns and volunteers also participate in outreach activities to increase public understanding of the overall importance of invertebrates in ecosystems and the value of natural history collections to conserving and securing biodiversity.

a group of people standing around a table.

Image: Jan Kealoha (Captive Rearing Coordinator) and Taylor Maruno (Collections Technician) teaching the public about native Hawaiian land snails and showcasing live and highly threatened native land snails.

a group of people standing around tables in a room.

Image: Bishop Museum Malacology personnel organizing and leading land snail taxonomic workshops for conservation managers and researchers.  

a man and a woman looking through a microscope.

Image: Jaynee Kim (Malacology Collections Manager) teaching the public about native Hawaiian land snails.

Norine W. Yeung, Ph.D,
Malacology Curator
808-848-4118
norine@bishopmuseum.org

Kenneth A. Hayes, Ph.D.,
Marine Malacology Curator
808-847-8217
kenneth.hayes@bishopmuseum.org

Search
Close this search box.

OPEN DAILY 9 AM – 5 PM

1525 BERNICE STREET
HONOLULU, HAWAI’I 96817

OPEN DAILY 9 AM – 5 PM

1525 BERNICE STREET
HONOLULU, HAWAI’I 96817

Skip to content