The Legend of the Pictish Polymita

The Legend of the Pictish Polymita


By Alina Veranes

Among the species of the endemic Cuban fauna, a small terrestrial mollusk named Polymita picta stands out for its extraordinary aesthetics, whose vivid colors and linear and curved lines of its calcareous shell have given it the fame of being the most beautiful snail on the planet.

This wild snail has arboreal habits that many value almost as a natural jewel, although it does not have the level of a pearl. That is why it lives in trees and bushes such as those of the coffee tree, in which it feeds on fungi.

At the same time, it is very sensitive to the prevailing humidity, to changes in ambient light, temperature and salinity of the environment, which is why it finds a kind of paradise in the lands of Baracoa, as a kind of natural and cultural symbol of that fertile region of Cuba.

They are classified as gastropods, meaning they move by crawling with the help of a fleshy ventral muscle. And in addition to Baracoa, where it has its preferred habitat, it has also been seen in the northeast of Camagüey and in all the eastern provinces.  It has relevant importance for the ecological balance of the region, due to its role in the food chain.

The residents of Baracoa love and are proud to have the privileged beauty of the Polymitas. They even created a legend in her honor that evokes the love that united a beautiful young Indian woman and the chief of a community. He wanted to give her, as a token of love, a natural jewel that brought together the pink color of the flowers, the dazzling gold of the sun, the white of the sea foam, the green of the surrounding mountains and the darkness of the night, which, by the way, surprised him without being able to capture the blue of the sky.

That is why this color is missing in the precious mollusks. Grateful, the young woman repaid him with her undying love and the kindness of her generous heart. And they lived happily ever after.