161 pages, 11 col plates, 40 b/w photos, 2 figs, 5 tabs, 11 maps
Some of the most beautiful and vivid shells in the world are found not on the beaches but in the trees of South Florida. This colorfully illustrated book offers for the first time a comprehensive survey of these rare snails and their shells, as well as their biology, natural history, evolution, and ecology. Shells of the Liguus fasciatus tree snails display a stunning rainbow of colors, from pink, powder blue, and deep orange to chestnut and black, in patterns ranging from subtle to complex. Fifty-nine named color forms exist, and variations within the forms bring the total of distinct varieties to almost 80. The author identifies all the various forms and their localities in this book. Color photographs of some 300 brilliantly hued shells illustrate the text. The migration and interbreeding of the Liguus fasciatus, including the many varieties that appear in only one defined habitat such as Matecumbe Key or Key Vaca, are described. This remarkable compilation of all available information on these snails contains abundant reference material for scientists, but it is written in an informal style that will appeal to shell aficionados and amateur naturalists alike. Enthusiasts also will be interested to learn that the shells can be seen on walks through the forests of Everglades National Park and the hammocks of the Pinecrest area, and even from the road in several places in the Keys.
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