Hawaii Biological Survey's


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69. Hihiwai

Scientific name: Neretina granosa Sowerby, 1825

Classification: Kingdom: Animalia: Phylum: Mollusca. Class: Gastropoda. Family: Neritidae

Origin: Endemic

Status: Relatively common

Distribution: Streams and low-salinity tide pools on the main islands

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These small freshwater snails (black with knobby bumps above; orange underneath) eat freshwater algae by scraping them off rocks with a single tooth called a radula. Adults live in streams from sea level to about 1200 feet in elevation, but the babies grow up in oceans. They swim upstream as they mature, settling on boulders. Hawaiians also called these snails wi (= “famine”) and ate them when food was scarce.
   Photo by Ronald Englund