Lonely George the tree snail dies, and a species goes extinct
One famous snail’s death highlights the plight faced by diverse Hawaiian snails, of which there were once hundreds of species.
The world’s loneliest snail is no more.
George, a Hawaiian tree snail—and the last known member of the species Achatinella apexfulva—died on New Year’s Day. He was 14, which is quite old for a snail of his kind.
George was born in a captive breeding facility at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in the early 2000s, and soon after, the rest of his kin died. That’s when he got his name—after Lonesome George, the Pinta Island tortoise who was also the last of his kind.
For over a decade, researchers searched in vain for another member of the species for George to mate with, to no avail. (Though these snails are hermaphrodites, two adults must mate to produce offspring, and researchers