25 January 2009

They might be giants—they are giants

GiantAfricanSnail4

Thanks to a Nigerian friend of the family, who visits her home country every December, I have received another batch of giant African snail shells. This lot of 6 shells are even huger than the ones she had brought back last year. Last year I had identified them as Achatina achatina, but a reader subsequently indicated that they were actually Archachatina marginata. I'll stick with that name until further notice.

For weight measurements that do not require great accuracy, I use an old, battered Ohaus Cent-O-Gram triple-beam balance that I rescued from a certain one-way trip to a garbage dump several years ago during a laboratory clean-up. Most of these guys are only a few tenths of a gram below the balance's maximum capacity of 111 g.

GiantAfricanSnail1

This one was 109.65 g. In fact, one of them exceeds 111 g.

GianAfricanSnail2

They are also longer than the standard 15-cm span of calipers. So, how do I measure them?

GiantAfricanSnail3

I'm telling you, they are giants.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have lots of them running around my garden.....

Jean (Durban, South Africa)

garlic=love said...

Hey when I opened todays post the music I was listening to was the "They Might Be GIants" and the song was "Snail Shell"...

I guess St. Che is watching over me,Too!

Matt said...

I can't for the life of me think what they're called, but biological anthropologists use a kind of box with a sliding scale for measuring the longer bones like femurs. Might be worth asking the bone guys what they have lying around...

Marvin said...

Bigger than any snail I've ever seen.

Kirk said...

Now that's a snail!
You might want to get a fish measuring board. It's a board with a ruler and a stop at one end.

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

A fish measuring board is a good idea. But for the time being, I'll probably photograph them alongside a ruler & estimate their lengths from photos.