21 July 2006

One from the soil (into the alcohol)


At one of our stations in western Turkey a couple of weeks ago, we collected a large number of large, empty Helix shells. There were no live snails around until I came upon one partially buried in cool, moist soil in the shade of a rock crevice. Unlike some of their relatives (for example, Helix aspersa) that tend to attach themselves to vertical surfaces when resting, these snails instead bury themselves in soil.


Freshly pulled out of its hole, it had soil clinging to its large, fleshy, pink foot. After we put it on a rock, it hesitatingly started to crawl. It certainly would have been a mouth-watering addition to any snail-eaters menu.


Throughout our expedition, we tried to minimize the collection of live snails. This is a rule we have been enforcing among ourselves for several years. Dissections are, however, sometimes necessary. The species identity of this particular Helix eluded us. Sadly, we had to sacrifice it for further study.


Cindy said...

Welcome back. You are so lucky to be able to travel and study your favorite creatures with other like-minded people. It must be very rewarding.

Your statement about sacrificing this handsome snail fits right in with my recent post submitted to Illustration Friday earlier this week.

Gayle said...

"Sadly, we had to sacrifice it for further study"

Yeah right! I bet you were unconsolable.....

Anonymous said...

Beautiful picture of the snail. Could it be: Helix Lucorum?

Helix lucorum measures about 45mm across the shell. It is sometimes known as "escargo turc."


I think it was identified as H. dickhauti.