Saturday 29 September 2012

Garden Snail Parade

Since I started this blog, I have been surprised by the diversity of land snails about in the city. As I have managed to get most of them on white background, I decided to write a post and display them all together.

Moss snail, Lauria cylindracea, a tiny, easily overlooked species which gives birth to live offspring. 

Garden Snails, Helix aspersa (=Cantareus aspersus), unashamedly mate in the middle of your garden  path throwing darts at each other. 
Girdled Snails, Hygromia cinctella, like walls. An introduced species since 1950, still expanding across Europe from the Mediterranean.
Kentish snail, Monacha cantiana prefers drier places. This species, introduced in the UK during Roman times, is a very common snail in my local Wildlife Garden. They can be darker with pale speckling.
Glass Snails, Oxychilus draparnaudi, are carnivorous snails that have caused havoc on native snails when introduced outside the UK.
Amber Snails, Succinea putris usually live in very damp places, but can be also found away from water. They cannot completely retract their bodies inside their shells.

Brown Lipped Snails, Cepaea nemoralis are very polymorphic in colour and pattern.You might be lucky to have these beauties in the garden.  

Have you noticed all the snails are facing to the right? This is because most (90%) of all snail species have right-handed shells (dextral). Occasionally a left-handed individuals appear in populations of right handed snails. These face a problem when trying to mate, as the genital opening will face away from most other snails in the population. The genetics of shell handedness has been elucidated in some species and appears to be determined by mutations in a single gene, but the left-handedness trait is expressed not in the mutant, but in the resulting offspring.

More information
Visit the Molluscs posts in Bugblog.
Terrestrial Mollusc Tool. A wonderful resource for US molluscs. Contains also lots of info on introduced European slugs and snails.


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Have put a link to this post on my 'Help With Identifying' page on Loose and Leafy.

Hope that's ok.

Africa Gomez said...

Thank you Lucy! That's quite all right.