Endangered Snail Species Survives Wildfires, Broadens Range

Jul 20, 2017

The historic 2016 wildfires in North Carolina burned almost 100 percent of the known habitat of the noonday globe snail, yet the federally threatened species survived.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist spring surveys found that the tiny mollusks survived the fires in the Nantahala River Valley, and were found in previously unrecorded areas, showing that their range had expanded.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Jason Mays says that while some snails did die, the fire did not dramatically affect overall numbers.

The snail was placed on the federal endangered species list in 1978. Before the fires, the only place the snails were known to exist were in a 2-mile (3-kilometer) stretch of the river valley. After the fire, snails were found in a 5-mile-long (8-kilometer-long) area.