Marbled polecat (Vormela peregusna)

The marbled polecat is a small mammal belonging to the monotypic genus Vormela within the Mustelinae subfamily. Vormela is from the German word Würmlein, which means “little worm”. Marbled polecats are generally found in the drier areas and grasslands of southeastern Europe to western China. Like other members of Mustelinae, it can emit a strong-smelling secretion from anal sacs under the tail when threatened. Marbled polecats are most active during the morning and evening. Their eyesight is weak and they rely on a well-developed sense of smell. Marbled polecats are known to eat ground squirrels, Libyan jirds, Armenian hamsters, voles, mole rats, house mice, and other rodents, small hares, birds, lizards, fish, frogs, snails, and insects (beetles and crickets), as well as fruit and grass. In 2008, V. peregusna was classified as a vulnerable species in the IUCN Red List due to a population reduction of at least 30% in the previous 10 years.

photo credits: thefabweb, gencormanmuhendisleri, wiki,, ~fb~

Achatinella mustelina - a Hawaiian endemic species of slow growth and short life is prey of the Wolf snail

Achatinella mustelina (Stylommatophora - Achatinellidae) is an arboreal pulmonate gastropod that is endemic to the island of O’ahu in the Hawaiian archipelago, classified as a Critically Endangered species on the IUCN Red Lit.

This land snail vary in size, shape, and color among different locations. In general, adults have an average length of 2.14 cm. The shells have a shiny finish and are usually brown with light bands. Shells of A. mustelina can be either dextral or sinistral and consist of five to seven convex whirls.

A field study conducted between September 1974 and December 1975 in the Waianae Mountains of Oahu, Hawaii, showed that the rate of growth of A. mustelina is slow, averaging about 2 mm increase in length per year. However, by 1979, the population of A. mustelina under study had disappeared as a result of predation of the introduced Wolf snail, Euglandina rosea.

Since 2010 the U.S. Army in Hawaii’s Waianae Mountains is protecting to A. mustelina. Some of the Army’s efforts involved were the use of trained dogs to track down wolf snails, and to build predator-proof enclosures for the endemic snail.

References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]

Photo credit: ©Joel Lau | Locality: Wai`anae Mountains, O`ahu, Hawai`i

Made with Flickr