Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Glossy Pillar Snails

Zugunruhe is what we call migratory restlessness in birds. The seasons are calling. Cabin fever is what we call it in ourselves. The seasons are changing. That monster earthquake may have slowed down the earth a bit, but it is still rolling, and I am itching to discover what new, to me, forms of life are to be found in the Back 40, my concrete backyard, this spring and summer. I went out there yesterday afternoon to observe the mess it's in. Here's what I found:Last July, I found these tiny snails stuck to the wall in the Back 40. They turned out to be Cionella lubrica, the glossy pillar snail. And they are still there. The photo above was taken yesterday afternoon in situ.
These are small, slippery, and you can sort of see through them. The dark at the narrow end: that's the animal, the gastropod itself. But have they survived the winter? It looks kind of messy in there. How does a snail, or its genetic material, survive the winter? Now, the snail above seems suspended in cobweb. Last summer, they were all attached to the wall at the mouth of their shell.
These are an invasive species, but are now largely naturalized now all over the temperate world. At about a 1/4 inch long, they present a photographic challenge.

But then, I thought, how about if I use my 15x21mm triplet loupe?

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