Hawaiia minuscula (Minute Gem)


Hawaiia minuscula is a air-breathing terrestrial (land dwelling) snail that commonly lives in rich woods and at the base of black walnut and butternut trees (Dourson, 2006). They also reside in oak, hickory, and sycamore trees (Írstan, 2007). According to The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, the minute gem has been found in areas such as marshes or beaver ponds, where water and moisture is plentiful (Metcalf, 1997). Not to mention, some of these snail species have been found up to 6,600 to 7,500 ft in elevation along Pe˝asco Canyon in the Sacramento Mountains (Metcalf, 1997).

What do all these locations have in common? They all have plentiful amounts of moisture or water. Snails prefer moist environments, like lush forests, marshes, ponds, and river canyons, because they are able to avoid less water loss (Solem, 1978).

The Minute Gem is more commonly found in areas of North America (Burch, 1962). Figure 1, seen at right, shows the distribution of the Minute Gem throughout the Eastern United States. Though this figure only shows eastern parts of the U.S., Hawaiia minuscula is actually distributed in western parts of the United States as well, with large populations residing in New Mexico (Metcalf, 1997). Additionally, this species can range from locations such as Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada, and even Costa Rica (Metcalf,1997).

 Figure 1. The distribution of Hawaiia minuscula (Hubricht, 1985).


Learn more about Hawaiia minuscula adaptation.