|A live individual of Liguus fasciatus on a tree|
These snails are especially notable for their relatively large size, and for their often brightly colored shells, which sometimes have complex color patterning. Because of their visual appeal, the shells have been the target of heavy collection pressure — a serious issue since some varieties are very scarce, and some are believed to have become extinct within the 20th century.
The genus Liguus is restricted to some of the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola) and to Florida. Four of the species, Liguus virgineus (Hispaniola), L. blainianus (Habana and Pinar del Río Provinces, Cuba), L. flammellus (Pinar del Río Province, Cuba), and L. vittatus (Oriente Province, Cuba [since 1976, divided into five new provinces]), have localized ranges, while the numerous subspecies of Liguus fasciatus are more widely distributed, in both Cuba and southern Florida.
Liguus shares the distinguishing characteristics of other bulimulid gastropods in the subfamily Orthalicinae: large size (about 40 mm (1.6 in) in length), imperforate umbilicus, a jaw consisting of a limited number of broad plates, and the presence of a pineal gland. The shells of Liguus are more slender than those of Orthalicus, the only other orthalicine genus with which it is likely to be confused. The shape of Liguus shells is characterized by Pilsbry as "oblong-conic", versus "ovate-conic" for Orthalicus.
- Liguus virgineus (Linnaeus, 1758) - type species of the genus Liguus
- Liguus blainianus (Poey, 1851)
- Liguus fasciatus (Müller, 1774)
- Liguus flammellus Clench, 1934
- Liguus vittatus (Swainson, 1822)
Many more species have been recognized in the past based on color varieties in the shell, but these taxa have largely been synonymized or placed as lesser level taxa under one or another of these five named species.
These snails are found on trees of many species, usually ones with smooth bark: false tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum), gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba), pigeonplum (Coccoloba diversifolia), black ironwood (Krugiodendron ferreum), false mastic (Sideroxylon foetidissimum), poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum), and Jamaica fishpoisontree (Piscidia piscipula), among others. In most cases, tropical forests suitable for Liguus have at least some surficial limestone, and limestone outcroppings are often present.
- Montfort P. D. de (1810). Conch. Syst. 2: 422.
- Power E. J. Liguus Home Page. A Conchological informational page for South Florida and Caribbean Liguus tree snail geographic distribution, ecology and taxonomy. https://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.geocities.com/Eureka/Gold/9440/liguus/lighompa.html&date=2009-10-25+07:25:33
- Pilsbry H. A. (1912). "A study of the variation and zoogeography of Liguus in Florida". J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia '15(2nd ser.): 429-471.
- Pilsbry H. A. (1946). Land mollusca of North America north of Mexico vol. II part 1. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. pp. 1-520.
- Clench W. J. (1946). "A catalogue of the genus Liguus with a description of a new subgenus". Occ. Pap. Molluscs, Museum Comp. Zool. 1(10): 117-128.
- Jaume M. L. (1952). "Catalogo de los moluscos del genero Liguus". Circ. Museo Biblioteca Malacologia Habana Mar: 515-527.
- Jaume M. L. (1954). "Catalogo del genero Liguus en Cuba (Molusca:Gasteropoda)". Circ. Museo Biblioteca Zoologia Habana Nov-Dec: 1423-1450.
- Voss R. S. (1976). "Observations on the ecology of the Florida tree snail, Liguus fasciatus (Muller)". The Nautilus 90(2): 65-69.
- Hillis D. M., Dixon M. T. & Jones A. L. (1991). "Minimal genetic variation in a morphologically diverse species (Florida tree snail, Liguus fasciatus)". J. Heredity 82(4): 282-286.
- Pilsbry H. A. (1946). Land mollusca of North America north of Mexico vol. II part 1. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. p. 29.
- "Mollusca" Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine.. Diversidad Biológica Cubana, accessed 23 March 2011.
- Pilsbry H. A. (1946). Land mollusca of North America north of Mexico vol. II part 1. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. p. 38.