18 September 2007

Graffitized* snails

graffiti wall

During a recent lunch hour expedition I discovered this wall of graffiti overlooking a narrow field of grass. Burnt plant remains and melted plastic garbage indicated that there had been a small fire in the area not too long ago. To my amazement, there were also hundreds of snail shells covering the ground.


Today I spent about an hour there picking up most every shell I saw. The majority belonged to a yet-to-be-identified Triodopsis sp. Afterwards, a rough count estimated the total number collected as close to 300. I will probably go back and look for more. I am sure there are additional shells under the debris and in the nooks and crannies along the wall.


Many shells had been blackened by the fire. I did not see any live snails. But I can't tell if the fire was responsible for the deaths of the snails. There were also several fresh shells with no fire damage. Those may have belonged to snails that died after the fire destroyed the plant cover.

And 2 shells from the bottom of the wall had received their share of the graffiti artist's paint. This appears to be a good choice of paint to mark snail shells.


*Graffitize is apparently not a word in the dictionary. There are a few examples of it on the Web, though.


budak said...

more snails and human taste: http://newswise.com/articles/view/533499/

...Kat said...

very interesting!

I just came here from Brittanie's insect blog where she put up a beautiful video of leopard slugs mating from a documentary.
It was wonderous!
You have probably seen such yourself in the Real World :-)


Megan said...

Wow, I never would have thought to see so many snails in such an urban place as along the Metro rail tracks. Do you suppose they're benefiting from whatever rocks (e.g. limestone?) that are used to line the rails?


Actually, the place is not near Metro tracks (there is a fence along Metro tracks anyway). I think that particular sp. of Triodopsis likes disturbed open fields with or without limestone.