01 January 2010

Vertigo pusilla: a sinistral snail to start off the new year


The readers who are versed in the study of snails will notice that the snail in the picture has a sinistral, or left-handed, shell. This is Vertigo pusilla, a land snail widespread throughout most of Europe (Fauna Europaea). This particular specimen was from Turkey, where the southern limits of the species' range may lie.

Here is a picture showing the aperture. The scale on the left is in millimeters. The shell was almost exactly 2 mm long.


Vertigo pusilla was described by O. F. Müller in 1774. The specific name, probably derived from the Latin pusillus, meaning tiny, is rather undescriptive in that all Vertigo species are tiny (here is Vertigo gouldi). Apparently, Müller wasn’t too impressed with the left-handedness of the shell.

The dictionary gives good as an antonym of sinister. May this be a good year for everyone.

1 comment:

Kazimir Majorinc said...

It looks like Vertigo pusilla has mercury drops instead of eyes.