Snail Detectives Wanted!

By Ruth D’Alessandro, The Wildlife Gardener It’s not often The Wildlife Gardener finds something that neither she nor The Ranger can identify. So we are sending out an NOS (Name Our Snail) request to Naturenet readers. While out walking near a mill pond I spotted several of these snails crawling all over cow parsley:

Mystery snail

What on earth is it?

They are very different from the usual Grove snails (Cepaea nemoralis) found on chalk downland:

Cepaea nemoralis

Grove snails (Cepaea nemoralis)

The largest of these unusual snails was about 2.5cms, the one pictured about 1 cm. At first glance I thought they were pond snails far from home (relatively), but those have triangular fleshy horns peeping out from under the shell. The heads and bodies of the mystery snails are very much those of a terrestrial snail. The nearest matching snail I could find on Google was a Galapagos land snail. If so, they are a bit lost. Perhaps a couple of them fell out of Charles Darwin‘s pocket in nearby Downe, and descendants arrived here in Surrey 170 years later. The Ranger, no snail expert, suggested tentatively Cochlicopa species, although I think they have too much of a ‘turret’. So, we are very intrigued to find out what they are. An undiscovered species? Helix naturenetii? Readers, can you help us? See follow-up for a very well-informed answer!

Latest posts by The Wildlife Gardener (see all)

4 thoughts on “Snail Detectives Wanted!

  • 12th May, 2012 at 6:12 pm
    Permalink

    Keep watching this space, Frank. There’s more snail fun to come!

    Reply
  • 12th May, 2012 at 6:12 pm
    Permalink

    I don’t think I’ve ever learnt so much about snails in my entire life! What great post – made me smile.

    Frank Polenose of http://www.todayloan.co.uk

    Reply
  • 12th May, 2012 at 6:12 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you for this, David. I’ve found an email address for Janet and sent her a picture, so watch this space. How exciting if it is a rare or new species!

    Reply

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.