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Snails of the world:Central- and South-Africa

The Achatinidae are the best known snailfamily in Africa,among it is the largest landsnail in the world,Achatina achatina.It can reach
a shell size of up to 273 mm.The snails in this family are very abundant in West Africa,and in the area of equatorial Africa.
In Ghana and Nigeria African landsnails are sold as food and for medicinal purposes.The shells are used for storage and spoons 
made out of the shell.
In earlier times cut up shells were used a currency in Angola and the Congo(A.balteata).
Another well known species is Achatina fulica,originally from East-Africa but now introduced in many tropical(and not so tropical)areas's.
A.achatina,A.fulica and A.marginata.photo:Anjie Burdett
Other genera are Archachatina,Metachatina(South-Africa)Burtoa and Limicolaria.
On the islands of Sao Tome and Principe,Gulf of Guinea,some endemic species live.For example Atopocochlis exarata,Lignus alabaster 
and the genus Columna.The three species in this genus are all sinistral.Another endemic genus is Thomeonanina,family Helixarionidae,
it also has three species.
     
Lignus alabaster                                                Atopocochlis exarata                                                       Columna columna                             
(Photo:Femorale)                                                    (Photo:Malac. Soc of London)                                         (Photo:Femorale)

The species of the genus Pseudachatina don't lay their eggs in the ground but in the branches of trees. In the family of Uocyclidae there are circa twelve species living in West and East Africa.Among these are the semislugs Zonitarion,Urocyclus and Africarion. Urocyclus (Photo:www.calacademy.com)

The snails of the family Subulinidae have small or medium size shells,some species are sinistral. The family Streptaxidae has some genera in East-Africa and Kenya:Eustreptaxis,Tayloria,Marconia from Kenya and Odontartemon. A family living in the region of Cameron is Aillya,the snails have oval,thin shells with large mouths.The Hygromiidae has three genera in this region, for example Haplohelix. There aren't many operculate snails inhabiting this area.Ditropis and Maizania of the Cyclophoridae family and Cyclotopsis and Tropidophora of the Pomatiasidae.

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