Achatinella apexfulva Dixon, 1789

Dusky-apex Oahu tree-snail



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonyms: Achatinella lugubris Chemnitz; Achatinella pica Swainson; Achatinella vespertina Baldwin; Achatinella apicata var. alba Sykes; Achatinella apicata Newcomb; Achatinella swiftii var. Newcomb; Achatinella aptycha Pfeiffer; Helix Avex Fulva Dixon; Turbo apexfulva Dixon, 1798 (original combination?); Turbo lugubris Chemnitz; Monodonta seminigra Lamarck; Bulimus seminiger Mke; Apex gulickii Smith; Apex lilaceus Gulick.


The first land snail described from the Hawaiian Islands.


Conservation Status


Last record: 1 January 2019 (in captivity) (source); 1985 in the wild?

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered


This species was formerly extinct in the wild, with only a single individual in captivity as of March 2011:

"The lab has nine of the ten remaining Achatinella species, though that number is likely to drop to eight in the near future: The lab’s lone Achatinella apexfulva is probably the last survivor. No one has seen it in the wild for more than a decade."

(Crowl, 2011[: third page of story])


There had been ten individuals, but a mass die off due to unknown causes, rendered George the probable endling.

Cowie et al. (2017) list the species' conservation status as "EX?", implying that the presumed endling had passed away sometime since March 2011. However, David Sischo announced on 4 January 2019 that "George" had passed away on New Year's Day:

"George, the last known Achatinella apexfulva died on New Year’s Day 2019. George was approximately 14 years old. He is survived by none…"



Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, USA


Biology & Ecology










Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. pp. 378. International Union for Conservation of Nature, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Cowie, Robert H., Régnier, Claire, Fontaine, Benoît, and Bouchet, Philippe. (2017). Measuring the Sixth Extinction: what do mollusks tell us? The Nautilus 131(1): 3-41.

Cowie Robert H., Héros Virginie, Yeung Norine W. and Hayes Kenneth A. (2016). Annotated catalogue of types of Hawaiian land and fresh-water snails (Mollusca: Gastropoda) in the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, with lectotype designations. Zoosystema 38(2): 245-266.

Crowl, Janice. (2011). Kahuli Homecoming. Hana Hou! 14(2): [pagination?].

van Dooren, Thom. (2017). The last snail: loss, hope and care for the future, pp. 145-[152?]. In: Newell, Jennifer, Robin, Libby and Wehner, Kirsten (eds.). Curating the Future: Museums, Communities and Climate Change. Abingdon & New York: Routledge. [relevant reference?]

Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1994. 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Hadfield, Michael and Hadway, L. (1996). Achatinella apexfulva. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. ( Downloaded on 19 September 2011.

IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Price, M. R., Hadfield, M. G., Knapp, I. S. S., Toonen, R. J. and Forsman, Z. H. (2021). Evolutionary genomics of endangered Hawaiian tree snails (Achatinellidae: Achatinellinae) for conservation of adaptive capacity. PeerJ 9:e10993. [Supplemental Information 1 (Maximum likelihood (ML) trees); Supplemental Information 2 (Tree snail sample attributes by taxonomy)]

Price, M. R., Sischo, D., Pascua, M. and Hadfield, M. G. (2015). Demographic and genetic factors in the recovery or demise of ex situ populations following a severe bottleneck in fifteen species of Hawaiian tree snails. PeerJ 3: e1406.

Régnier, Claire, Fontaine, Benoît and Bouchet, Philippe. (2009). Not Knowing, Not Recording, Not Listing: Numerous Unnoticed Mollusk Extinctions. Conservation Biology 23(5): 1214-1221.

Welch, d'Alté Aldridge. (1942). Distribution and variation of the Hawaiian tree snail Achatinella apexfulva Dixon in the Koolau Range, Oahu. Smithson. Misc. Collect. 103: 1-236, + 12 plates.

Wells, S.M., Pyle, R.M. and Collins, N.M. (compilers) 1983. The IUCN Invertebrate Red Data Book. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.


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