28 November 2008

The day after Thanksgiving field trip, or what's up with the little yellow flags?

Every year after Thanksgiving Tim Pearce and I try to go on a field trip together to collect land snails. The highlight of the 2006 trip in Virginia was the discovery of the European snail Cecilioides acicula. We couldn't get together last year, but we were able to return to our tradition today with a trip to Hoyles Mill Conservation Park in Montgomery County, Maryland. The last time I was there was back in May.

AU-13a

The best spot during our 4-hour trip was this dead tree. We found 5 live, but dormant Anguispira fergusoni buried in the damp and soft soil among the roots. Each snail's body was about 1/4 whorl behind its aperture.

AU-13c

I placed the snails back in the soil, covered them up and marked their locations with little yellow flags. I had the flags with me, because I had been hoping to do a study like this. The idea is to see if the snails become active during the rest of the winter and change their locations. Hopefully, my handling of them today did not wake them up.

AU-13b
2 flagged Anguispira fergusoni (arrows) before they were reburied.

This, of course, means that I will be going back there to check up on them. I did a similar study with a Haplotrema concavum last winter. That story is here.

Follow up posts are here and here.

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