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Keiki Coloring Contest & Vote for your favorite Snails!

Updated: Aug 2, 2023


BISHOP MUSEUM


Invertebrates, such as insects and molluscs, are an integral component of ecosystems, providing pollination for plants, decomposition of waste, and food for carnivores. They compose more than 90% of species in the world and are found at all levels of the food chain. As such, invertebrates have a high biodiversity; they are known for their large variety of different species. Hawaiʻi is considered to be an invertebrate biodiversity hotspot because of its unusually high number of native species. Its native land snail species, or kāhuli, embody this diversity with a high number of species and endemicity (species found only in Hawaiʻi) with 759 species, 99.9% endemicity. However, a vast majority of these species are threatened or extinct. This is troubling because Hawaiʻi’s kāhuli hold ecological significance in Native Hawaiian ecosystems due to their role as decomposers, breaking down dead or decaying material to provide plant life with nutrient-rich soil. Additionally, they are a food source for our other native species such as Hyposmocoma molluscivora, the carnivorous moth native to Maui and Oʻahu, and native forest birds such as the Po’ouli, Melamprosops phaeosoma, a native honeycreeper. Hawaiʻi’s kāhuli have served an important role in the Hawaiian culture through mele (song), hula, moʻolelo (story), ʻoli (chant), and as symbols for romance and omens. They are described as the singing snails, representing the voice of the forest. This ancient description was due to kāhuli’s immense prominence in the forests. The snails’ voices were signifiers of positive events or affirmations for certain decisions. This phenomenon, however, is no longer observed due to the decline of kāhuli species.


What is this?

In 2020, Connor Kalikoonāmaukūpuna Kalāhiki, a Kamehameha Schools high school student, drafted a resolution to designate Laminella sanguinea as the official state snail. The House and Senate bills were supported; however, due to Laminella sanguinea being endemic only to O’ahu, it was suggested to designate an endemic snail for each of the islands. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project was put on hold but we are now relaunching this campaign to designate state snails for Hawaiʻi. We hope that designating these snails will recognize the imperiled status of land snails, setting a foundation for their conservation and preserving their cultural and ecological significance.


How To Vote: We would like your vote in designating a snail for each of the islands, including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Please click on the different snail profiles to read more about each of the snail candidates. We hope to announce the winners in Fall 2023 and submit a new resolution to the State of Hawaiʻi shortly thereafter. There are two ways to vote:
online here or submitting a coloring voting ballot to be downloaded below and uploaded here.

Voting for a snail is not just a fun activity, it’s a unique opportunity to engage with and learn about the incredible biodiversity of our planet. Each vote is a nod of appreciation to the fascinating world of molluscs, a group of creatures that often go unnoticed despite their significant role in our ecosystems. By voting, you’re acknowledging the importance of these small but mighty creatures, and contributing to raising awareness about their conservation. Whether you’re drawn to a snail because of its vibrant shell, its survival skills, or its unique habitat, your vote helps highlight the diversity and importance of snails. So, cast your vote and join us in celebrating the fascinating world of snails!

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