Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another Back 40 visitor

Today in the backyard:A grove, or brown-lipped, or banded wood, snail. Hell, no wonder we have the scientific names, otherwise we'd go crazy with the common names. This is Cepaea nemoralis. (As always, this amateur's call is tentative on identifying the ooogy members of terrestrial Gastropoda.)
A European species, this was introduced in New Jersey in 1857; the snails are sometimes garden and flower pests; they are sometimes pests in upstate NY vineyards. Personally, I wonder it would go with a nice red or a crisp white. They are very polymorphic in coloration, but the brown lip is almost always there.
You can see here the film from the seal it makes when it attaches itself to something for the day. This one was actually attached to a collapsed garbage bag.

You may want to cover the kids' eyes, but this Wiki page on the snail love dart is pretty funky and mindblowing. Cupid turns out to be a snail. They fire darts at each other before copulation.


Emerson Merrick said...

my mind is officially blown.

amarilla said...

Seriously. As if Tyrian purple weren't enough, they also give us cupid's arrow? I have fallen off my chair.

Kat said...

Your beautiful photos and commentary are lovely. I am a proud keeper (?) of three wood snails. Each looks more beautiful than the other. We got Fluffy last winter, who went into hibernation until about February. We thought it was dead. Then we found it clinging to the wall and it still looked dead. We became suspicious. Then one night I saw Fluffy's EYES! This summer I went out to get some companions, and brought home Shrek and Rose. Shrek is green and Rose is chestnutty. Anyway, I happened to be checking on the kids this week and was stunned to see Fluffy getting stabbed by Shrek with the amazing love dart. I had just seen part of Brokeback Mountain and I felt the same way. I found eggs yesterday right near where Fluffy was resting. Thank you for your note about the Brooklyn Back 40.

Matthew said...

I think "snail-wrangler" is the official term for a keeper of snails.