The Endangered Sea Snail
by Ernesto Díaz Cabrera
Estudiante Doctorado en Ciencias, mención Ecología y Biología Evolutiva de la Universidad de Chile
Doctoral candidate in Science of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Chile
Pure (the scientific name is Monetaria caputdraconis which means “dragon’s head”) is endemic to Rapa Nui and the Salas y Gómez Island, which means that it’s not found on any other part of the planet. It belongs to the family of snails called Cypraeidae, a type that is particularly appreciated by shell collectors throughout the world for its variety of forms and bright colors. This family has more than 200 species and is widely found in shallow waters throughout the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans from Hawaii to East Africa.
The Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI) Institute is working on a study on the connectivity of Pure between the two islands. Data extracted from genetic analysis indicates that most of the individuals present on either island come from the same original population, which is called self-recruitment.
The first available results have shown that individuals on Rapa Nui are genetically identical to those on Salas y Gómez, which means that we can assume that they are a part of the same population. However, we have registered very low levels of connectivity and a high level of self-recruitment on each island. This would lead us to believe that migration of Pure between the islands is not so common, but that it is sufficient to keep them genetically connected. The movement seems to be slightly higher from Salas y Gómez to Rapa Nui (0.24%) than the other way around (0.18%).
Studies such as these have important implications for the conservation of biodiversity and allow us to optimize our efforts for a sustainable management of them and their conservation over time.
In the sand of Rapa Nui there are animals so small that they can hardly be seen with the bare eye. You need a microscope to see them. These animals live in the small spaces between sand grains.
Bees Rapa NuiFree of Pathogens, a Source of Life and LoveBees were introduced to Easter Island by the Catholic missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the decade of the 1860s, and since then have been pollinating guavas, mangoes, bananas and pasture flowers. In...
The Tavake And its future, a challenge for Rapa NuiOne of the loveliest spots on the Island is the Moai (statue) quarry at Rano Raraku. Anyone who has visited it has seen or heard the Tavakes, the red-tailed tropicbird. These majestic white birds, with their bright...