Horse conchs snails are one of the world’s biggest sea snails. These colorful marine snails live in Florida’s giant state seashell. Their lifespan is shorter and breeds later than previously thought. The new research on these species indicates that the population of these snails may be on the verge of extinction.
The size of the conchs has shrunk over decades, according to previous study, which Herbert describes as “the universal sign that a tipping point is near.”
Horse conchs, like other marine species have lost a lot of habitat to development and pollution. This includes their favored nesting areas along mud flats and seagrass beds. Their Gulf home is also warming as a result of climate change. This puts additional strain on the animals.
According to scientists, the harmful consequences of excess heat is also on other large mollusks. Overharvesting is the most immediate threat to their numbers and sizes which is primarily for their highly sought-after shells.
According to Herbert’s research, he compared the locations of dead shells in the Gulf with the locations of living species in their habitats now. This comparison showed that they had a considerably greater range in the past. Furthermore, Herbert believed that the dwindling range could indicate that they are getting uncommon. Moreover, he assumes that some populations have already gone extinct.
In recent times the growing environmental awareness has aided shell-dwellers. Some ethical beachgoers leave live shells on the shore. Moreover the Florida coastal local governments, led by Sanibel Island, have likewise prohibited or restricted live shelling.
Horse conchs are still heavily harvested along most of the coast for the aquarium or curio markets. The data show that harvesting limits, such as minimum sizes to allow at least one spawning and maximum sizes to safeguard the most productive breeding females. This might benefit the conchs. Furthemore, mother conchs, which are much larger than males, are particularly vulnerable to being slaughtered for their shells.
Despite all this data, it is believed that horse conchs deserve protection before it is too late.