30 Nov 2011

Rare albino snail found in national park

6:38 pm on 30 November 2011

A rare white-bodied giant Powelliphanta snail is reported to have been found by trampers in Kahurangi National Park.

Members of a party from the Waimea Tramping Club spotted the albino Powelliphanta hochstetteri hochstetteri snail in the Flora Stream area during a recent trip.


The snail has a characteristic golden brown-spiralled shell, but its body is a glowing white, like milky bar chocolate, rather than the usual deep black colour.

Department of Conservation snail expert Kath Walker says it's only the second instance of an albino Powelliphanta snail she has come across in more than 30 years.

Ms Walker told Checkpoint she has since searched the spot where the white Powelliphanta was seen but was unable to find it.

From photos taken by the trampers, she says it looks to be an adult snail at least 10 years old.

Ms Walker says she is amazed it has survived this long, because its white body would make it clearly stand out to be picked off by weka or other predators.