Species: Dlinza pinwheel (Trachycystis clifdeni)
Status: Critically Endangered (CR)
Interesting Fact: The Dlinza pinwheel has a line of bristles round its shell!
The exceptionally striking Dlinza pinwheel is a small species of snail that is found in only the Dlinza Forest in South Africa. Its name comes from the unusual whorl of bristles that radiate out from the edge of its shell, and resemble a Catherine wheel or pinwheel firework. The fragile, almost translucent pale-brown shell is a spiral shape with up to five whorls. In its coastal forest home, the Dlinza pinwheel can be found beneath leaves, under fallen logs, in leaf-litter and sometimes in damp, swampy areas. The Dlinza pinwheel is so rare that nothing is known of its feeding behaviour or reproductive biology.
The single forest where this species lives is officially protected, which offers some protection to this tiny snail. Nevertheless, the small and exposed nature of its home means that this rare and fascinating snail remains somewhat helpless to the changing world around it, and a single extreme weather event could potentially wipe out the whole population. More research into the ecology and behaviour of this small but captivating species may help unearth valuable information to help guide appropriate conservation action and bring the diminutive ‘pinwheel’ back from the brink of extinction.
Find out more about the organisation in charge of conserving the Dlinza forest: Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife
View the Dlinza pinwheel on ARKive.
Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author