LITTLE ROCK — A tiny, dusky brown or buff-colored terrestrial snail found only on Magazine Mountain in Logan County is the first invertebrate to be removed from a list of the nation’s most endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday.
The Magazine Mountain shagreen snail was put on the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 1989 under the federal Endangered Species Act. Annual monitoring conducted by researchers indicates that Magazine Mountain shagreen populations have remained stable since 1996, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.
Additionally, a review of the snail’s status shows adequate regulatory protection exists, and threats have been eliminated or reduced to the point that the species has recovered and no longer meets the definition of threatened under the law, the agency said.
"The recovery of this species was made possible through collaborative efforts of our partners at the U.S. Forest Service, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to remove threats and protect the habitat of the Magazine Mountain shagreen," Cindy Dohner, FWS southeast regional director, said in a release. "The delisting of this snail is another Endangered Species Act success story."
Enacted in 1973, the landmark legislation allowed for the protection of wildlife, both vertebrates and invertebrates — including snails, mussels, crustaceans, etc. — and plants. In the South, the FWS is working to recover more than 340 federally listed species, including more than 100 invertebrates.
Nationally, the Fish and Wildlife Service is working to recover about 600 listed animals, more than a third of them invertebrates.
The Magazine Mountain shagreen snail inhabits the mountain’s north and west slopes above 2,200 feet. The Forest Service owns Magazine Mountain has designated portions of the mountain as a Special Interest Area to protect the snail and its habitat.
The snail prefers cool, moist conditions and lives within the talus — a sloping mass of rock fragments at the foot of a cliff — slopes of Magazine Mountain. It is not known how many talus slopes or acres the species inhabited at the time it was put on the endangered list.
Based on evaluation of recent data, the Magazine Mountain shagreen lives on 27 talus slopes on Magazine Mountain, cumulatively comprising about 22 acres. These populations are now considered secure from threats as Magazine Mountain is entirely owned and protected by the Forest Service and Parks and Tourism.