21 December 2007

Another sleeping snail

In this post from a week ago, I wrote about a dormant land snail I had found in the woods. I had grand plans for that snail. I was hoping that it would stay put in its little hole in the soil until the middle of March when I would take it, revive it and try to identify it. It was going to be a famous snail; a datum in a future scientific paper, not to mention ad libitum access to lettuce. But, it wasn't meant to be. Yesterday, exactly 8 days after I had placed it back in its little hole, I went back there to check up on it. The snail was nowhere to be found. Oh, well, that's the end of that experiment.

But while searching for it, I found an adult Haplotrema concavum buried in soil only a few centimeters away from the spot where the other snail had been. This snail too had a mucus membrane covering its aperture.


This time, I didn't touch the snail. After taking its photos, I covered it back up with soil and leaves. Let's see if this one will be there next time I stop by that spot.


Tim said...

Your comment that you didn't touch the Haplotrema concavum makes me wonder whether you think touching the snail was related to its disappearance. Do you think that your touch of the previous snail (1) disturbed it so that it walked away to a more secluded hidey hole, or (2) added human odor that alerted a predator to the snail's locality?


My handling of the previous snail may indeed have revived it making it go somewhere else, but not because it decided to look for a better hiding place (I don't think they have that kind of mental capacity). I am not sure why human odor would make a snail more attractive to a snail predator, if anything, it would scare the predator away.