Tuesday 2 June 2015

A snail safari

It was drizzling when I left home for work, a perfect day to look for some active snails for 30 Days Wild day 2 (always look at the bright side of life!). I hadn't walked long when I spotted some Strawberry Snails, Trochulus striolatus on the stones lining a front garden, probably feeding on algae encrusting the stones. A little while ahead a Garden Snail, Cornu aspersum, also in a front garden, probably searching for something more substantial.  I popped into Pearson Park Wildlife Garden. It is hard to visit it without finding a Kentish snail, Monacha cantiana, which love to walk on the paths. I found one climbing on grass (top shot). Many Kentish snails or all sizes were active on a wet trunk by the path, amongst them a White-Lipped snail, Cepaea hortensis.
 At lunchtime, I popped out a wooded area on campus and rooted around in the undergrowth and inspected the underside of pieces of wood and rocks. My first find was a Draparnaud snail, Oxychilus draparnaudi under a very rotten tree branch. Later, inside a plastic pot (part of an insect hotel) I discovered a Girdled Snail, Hygromia cinctella, which was nice as it is a first record for this area.
 Once home I knew where to find a tiny snail: in my log pile. After finding many garden snails dormant in amongst the logs, I spied a small group of Common Chrysalis Snail, Lauria cylindracea, and the best thing is that they were also active!
 Today's total then of seven species of snails found in not much time. At least two other species are quite common within walking distance of home: the Brown Lipped snail, Cepaea nemoralis, the Garlic Snail, Oxychilus alliarius, and the Rotund disk, Discus rotundatus.
Strawberry Snails, Trochulus striolatus
Garden snail, Cornu aspersum 
White lipped snail, Cepaea hortensis.
Draparnaud snail, Oxychilus draparnaudi
Girdled Snail, Hygromia cinctella
The Common Chrysalis snail, Lauria cylindracea
If you like snails and would like to learn to identify them I recommend these two publications, a folded up laminated An Illustrated Guide to the Land Snails of the British Isles, and the 2nd ed. Land Snails in the British Isles (with identification keys and drawings), and of course follow James Morris-Harding's quest to see all British land snails in 2015 the Snail Trail, either on Twitter (@UKSnailTrail) or on his blog.
 And if you identify them, why not send your records to iRecord?


Midmarsh John said...

A great set of snail photos. I'm sure I will find this a useful reference in the future.

Africa Gomez said...

Thank you John, most pleased you found it useful.