24 January 2010

Cepaea nemoralis in the winter

The survey of Cepaea nemoralis in Maryland that we started last summer is over. But then again, I was saying that to myself back in September, but have ended up making several more field trips since then. I made one last field trip yesterday and am now ready to finish the manuscript.

This juvenile was one of the few Cepaea nemoralis I could find yesterday. It had been hibernating under the leaf litter before I disturbed it. After taking a few photos of it, I returned it to soil.


Notice in the next photo the white epiphragm sealing its aperture. I don't know of any native northeast U.S. snails that build epiphragms reinforced with calcium carbonate; the natives only use slime to seal their apertures. The morphology of the epiphragm of Cepaea nemoralis must be under genetic control. Even the captive snails make them like that.



Joel VanDerMeulen said...

Very cool. Does the survivability rate increase when the aperture is calcium carbonate vs mucous?

Also it looks like you could use some hand mosturizer Aydin! :P


Well, the native snails have been surviving the northeast winters with only mucus epiphragms for quite a long time now. So I guess in this case it is good enough.

Yes, I could use hand cream. :)