Facts about flax snail
Flax snail habitat, Taupiri Island, Cape Maria van Diemen
There are three species of flax snail:
- Placostylus bollonsi - up to 115 mm long (shell length), distribution: Three Kings Islands
- Placostylus ambagiosus - up to 94 mm long (shell length), distribution: Te Paki
- Placostylus hongii - up to 85 mm long (shell length), distribution: eastern Northland
These giants were once widespread in Northland before human settlement. Many of them are now endangered or threatened, and inhabit a more restricted area of Northland and the islands offshore.
- Giant snails may live to 20 years or more.
- Mating appears to be triggered by climatic conditions, such as rainfall, and can last for 10 hours or more.
- Snail hatchlings spend an unknown period living in trees and shrubs up to 6 metres above the ground.
- Flax snail diet includes fallen leaves from broadleaf plants.
Flax snails usually live in broadleaf forest and scrub. They reside in pockets of broadleaf litter, or under ground cover vegetation.