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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Snail Things

I found these scrape marks on the underside of the lid to one of our green waste bins. These are radula tracings of Helix aspersa; that is, the marks left by a brown garden snail as it fed (using its radula, a toothed structure kind of like a rasp) on the organic scum (or scuzz if you will) on the lid. I am sure a lot of times snails get thrown into the green waste with clippings and rakings from the garden but this is the first time I've noticed the tracings. Thanks to Cindy's blog for bringing such an obscure delicacy to my attention, though.

This large and handsome Helix aspersa, approaches an electrical conduit exposed in the unpaved depression left by the sewer replacement work recently undergone in our backyard. The snail cruised along next to the pipe heading east as I watched awhile, then began mounting the pipe, and once on top turned another 90 degrees to proceed along the pipe back in a westerly direction. Looking for green waste bin scum? An inordinate fondness for plastic among my native H. aspersa population? Most likely, simply a coincidence of plastic, mollusk and observer on a slow afternoon.

Above and to the right of the pipe-traveling snail was this flower of the snail vine, Vigna caracalla which along with its leguminous cousin the wisteria is a regular and welcome visitor over the fence from the neighbors to the north.



Nice radula tracings.

vanessa cardui said...


Christine said...

Maybe it will be considered snail cave paintings in a few of their lifetimes and they'll send their archeologists to come and study it.
I've heard that vine can be hard to grow- glad you get to enjoy it!