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Valentine's Day


A fine romance ... for snails

As it is Valentine's Day I thought I'd better write an appropriate post. Last year I joined the Conchological Society and I really enjoy reading the articles in Molluscan World. Last November there was an article describing the behaviour of a scalariform Cepaea nemoralis:


Rosemary Hill acquired this beautiful snail with its extended shell, named Curly, from a garden centre, looked after it and observed its behaviour. What she observed was some interesting activity that seemed to be a preparation for attracting a mate. The first one, shell cleaning is something I've seen my snails doing. They stretch their bodies right out and round so they can clean the shell. It's amazing that Curly managed to reach the tip of hers. The other activity was what she called 'hanging around' where the snail climbs up to a high place and just hangs there as though waiting for a mate to pass by. It's a long time since I was a teenager but I seem to remember it involved quite a lot of dressing up and hanging around in public places hoping someone would notice. I wonder if the snail is doing something like that too. Hanging about is certainly something else I've seen my snails doing.

ImageNormally if a snail gets upside down it holds on tight with the shell pressed up against the surface but this is different - lots of the foot is on show - very 'come hither' I'd say. Maybe its stretching things too far to describe this as romance but it's tempting especially today.

By the way, Curly did mate and lay eggs and none of the babies had scalariform shells - they were all a normal shape.

(Molluscs World is the magazine of the Conchological Society. The article 'A scalariform Cepaea nemoralis' by Rosemary Hill was an article in last November's edition)