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In my laboratory at the University of Oriente, in Santiago de Cuba, we study the six species of Polymita, known as painted snails, which are endemic to eastern Cuba and are in danger of extinction. The shells’ vibrant swirls and stripes look as if they’ve been painted by hand. Unfortunately, you can find their shells for sale on eBay, and many are exported to places such as the United States, China and Spain for use in art and jewellery — despite laws banning such trade.