The Cultural and Scientific Importance of Hawaiian Land Snails

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Thursday November 21

6:00 PM  –  7:30 PM

The Cultural and Scientific Importance of Hawaiian Land Snails

Thursday, November 21, 2019

with Dr. Norine Yeung, Bishop Museum Malacology Curator, and Dr. Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, Senior Scientist and Cultural Advisor at the Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi

6:00–7:30 pm

Atherton Hālau

General: $10

Members receive 10% off

Hawaiian snails are both diverse and important to our cultural and natural heritage. The earliest sections of the Kumulipo (a Hawaiian creation chant) are devoted to invertebrates of land and sea. “Singing” land snails played an important role in love poetry and characterizations of place, and even their names reference details about their habitat. Historically,land snails were believed to sing, and were called “pūpūkanioe,” meaning the shell that sounds long.   

Traditional oli (chant) and moʻolelo (stories) also illustrate geographic knowledge and habitat of our native snails. Similarly, the natural science collections of the Bishop Museum tie species to specific locations and habitats. So both Hawaiian traditional knowledge and scientific information work together to offer insight into the diversity and biogeography of land snails. 

Protecting our diverse ecosystems is vitally important. The research done within Bishop Museum’s Natural Science collections informs how we might best protect our remaining snails, nearly all of which are severely at risk.

This program is coordinated by the Bishop Museum Education Department to celebrate the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.