03 October 2005

Down among the old trees

Is there anything better to do on a beautiful Sunday afternoon than to look for snails among ancient trees? That's exactly what I did yesterday in Belt Woods, the largest tract of old growth forest left in eastern Maryland.

I obtained a permit last Spring from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to do a snail survey in Belt Woods, but Pam Cooper, the manager of Belt Woods, requested that I put off the survey until the end of August to avoid disturbing the ground-nesting birds. For one reason or another, I wasn't able to start the survey until yesterday. I am planning to go back there several more times before the winter comes. I will post updates here.

Here is Pam breaking her back to find shells for me.

Although the virgin forest at Belt Woods covers only about 45 acres, there appears to be a rich land snail diversity. Below is a Triodopsis (species to be determined), one of the most common snails in Belt Woods, crawling on my hand.

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