01 May 2009

Yellow nail polish put to good use

I don't think I have ever seen a woman with yellow nails, but a coworker in my office claimed she had used it when I asked her if there was such a thing as yellow nail polish. Later I did find yellow nail polish, not just one, but at least 2 brands, in a store. This was before my trip to Florida last month. But no, it was not for my nails.

I wanted to do some field experiments to determine the dispersal rates and patterns of the intertidal snail Batillaria minima I was planning to study. These snails have black shells. So I figured yellow nail polish would be the best marker for them. Here are some snails that I marked at low tide when they were exposed on rocks.


And here are a couple of them among some unmarked ones 2 days later.


The nail polish I used turned out to be quite stable even when exposed to sea water. I was able to locate marked snails up to 4 days later—the last day I looked for them.


Wanderin' Weeta said...

Nail polish is great stuff! It stays on, withstands dishwashing, is still there a year later. I use it to mend cracks, mark stuff, seal ends of string, harden up miniature shells (I use transparent polish for this), even as an emergency bandaid (it stings a bit).

I think it only chips off our nails and skin, because they are growing.

Tristram Brelstaff said...

Snail polish?


Exactly! :)

Kazimir Majorinc said...


One question: my snails I keep in box are always light yellow, almost white, while snails in the garden are brown. What could be the reason?

One of these snails scream when I touch him. Just like mammals who do not want to be touched, one cannot misinterpret that sound. I find it fascinating.


Helix aperta is supposed to emit a sound when picked up. I've never seen a live one to test that claim, though.

I don't know why your captive snails are light colored. Are they getting adequate nutrition, including calcium?

Kazimir Majorinc said...

Yes, it can be H. aperta. Now when you told me I have found photos, one black and white on Internet. My is like this second, so maybe he/she is OK after all. I don't know for nutrition, I've found them on green salad, so i give them salad but also, vegetable, leafs, they like cucumber most, and cuttlefish bone and some dirt and paper and spanch, is there anything else I could give them? Is it possible that they need more light, direct sunlight?

Coyote said...

My H. aspersas seem to get a bit pale in their tank. Sometimes I will put the tank outside in the shade, keeping it misted from time to time, in order for them to get some indirect sunlight.

I have never seen a pale aspersa in the wild. All my wild-caught aspersas have paled in the tank after a while. I'm hoping a few hours outside now and then will help.

Frank Anderson said...

Just out of curiosity...are there any visual predators of these snails that might appreciate all the yellow marks you've made?


Well, tough. Let them evolve.