While taking a walk on a cold and windy afternoon last weekend, I spotted a couple of things―I believe they are called pallets―discarded on a wooded slope. Pallets are wooden frames about 1 m x 1 m that are used as shipping crates. From the condition they were in it looked like they had been there for several years. Whenever I come upon something wide and flat in the woods (and anywhere else) I can’t resist the urge to lift it up and look under it. The picture on the left shows one of the raised pallets supported by my tripod.
The first thing I noticed under the pallet was a large snail shell that I could identify right away as Mesodon thyroidus, a common denizen of the forests around here. Then, I found another one and another one and another one...At the end I had 9 empty adult M. thyroidus shells.
There was also a small juvenile of the same species dormant in its shell. I took the empty shells, but put the juvenile back under the pallet. I also noticed 2 clusters of slug eggs, probably those of an Arion introduced from Europe. The tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) seed at the lower left corner provides a scale.
Next I looked under the other pallet, which was about 10 m away. There I found 2 more empty M. thyroidus and 2 empty shells of the larger Neohelix albolabris.
These snails seem to like to take refuge under these pallets. The moral of today’s tale is that trash left where it shouldn’t have been left isn’t always bad.