The highly diverse and endemic Pacific island biota is disappearing and being replaced by a relatively small number of widespread alien species. The land snail fauna of Samoa (formerly Western Samoa) contains at least 72 species (58 native, 10 alien, four cryptogenic—of unknown origin). In 1992–1994 we surveyed the fauna in order to evaluate its status and, by comparison with previous surveys, to detect any trends. Twelve species have declined (eight native, two cryptogenic); 17 (15 native, two cryptogenic) show a “probable decline” or “possible decline”; five (four alien, one native) have increased or possibly increased. Some species showed no clear trend; others could not be evaluated, but some of them may be extinct. The fauna faces threats similar to those faced elsewhere, primarily habitat destruction and alien species impacts. Most notable is the introduction of a predatory flatworm, Platydemus manokwari , in attempts to control the giant African snail, Achatina fulica , which became established in Samoa in the 1990s. The flatworm may or may not be able to control A. fulica but poses a serious threat to the native snail fauna. Further introduction and distribution of alien predators should be strongly discouraged.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2003
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