Jamaica has one of the world's most diverse faunas of terrestrial mollusks. Several workers have reported that Jamaica has more than 400 species, but the only comprehensive list prior to the one presented here was published by Vendryes (1899), who listed 533 species. As a result of our field work, studies of museum collections and the literature on Jamaica, we have determined that there are 561 named species of terrestrial mollusks in Jamaica. Of these, 505 are endemic to Jamaica, that is, found nowhere else in the world. This is an extraordinary level of diversity for an island of only 11,500 square kilometers (about the size of Connecticut and smaller than Israel). For comparison, the United States east of the Mississippi River has only 431 native species of snails and slugs, in an area 170 times larger.
This site lists the terrestrial mollusks of Jamaica and presents a key for identifying most of the land snail species. Other topics briefly treated herein are undescribed, newly described and introduced species in Jamaica.
Mollusk species list Key Instructions for Key Diversity by family Gallery of images
Anoma levis (C. B. Adams, 1851),Westmoreland, Jamaica
Although less than 15% of the original forest cover of Jamaica still exists, perhaps as much as 90% of the mollusk fauna is extant, although some species have suffered great contractions of range. Many species survive in areas of secondary forest.
Tree snails of the genus Anoma (Urocoptidae) are the most critically endangered and it is likely that some are already extinct. Fewer than a dozen specimens of Anoma were found alive, representing three of the twenty known species. Many Jamaican species have naturally small geographic ranges, so even with intensive sampling it is difficult to establish that a species is no longer extant, especially if the type locality was no more precise than 'Jamaica'. A few endemic species, particularly those adapted to dry conditions, are expanding their ranges.
|A five inch long millipede in the Cockpit Country
of Jamaica. This is the first known specimen of Eurhinocricus rosenbergi
Bond & Sierwald, 2002, named in the Proceedings of the Biological
Society of Washington 115: 670-675.
||Two species of grasshoppers from the Cockpit Country in Jamaica, Dellia karstica (top) and Dellia maroona
Perez-Gelabert, 2001, named in the Journal of Orthoptera Research