The Magnificent Ramshorn snail is an imperiled snail species endemic (found nowhere else in the world) to the lower Cape fear River Basin in North Carolina. The species is believed to be extirpated from the wild and currently exists in only three captive populations in the state. Their decline is attributed mostly to loss of their limited habitat due to degradation of water quality resulting from urbanization, with associated contaminants in stormwater and loss of riparian buffers.
Since 2004, multiple snail populations have been kept in captivity by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) and partners. The NCWRC is working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other partners to reintroduce the species to a pond in the wild. In addition, WRC is continuing to survey additional locations in the lower Cape Fear River basin looking for possible locations for secondary reintroductions, to establish additional wild populations and secure the species’ future.
Initial monitoring of the 860 snails stocked in October 2023 has revealed success! Staff observed a hatching egg cluster and freshly hatched snails. As a result, staff is moving forward to stock 2,000 additional snails in the same pond, later in the month.
NCWRC placed a small batch of Magnificent Ramshorns in a NCWRC Game Land’s pond located in Brunswick County, to determine whether conditions were favorable for survival of a full stocking of snails.