"If we and the rest of the backboned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the land's ecosystems would collapse."
David Attenborough

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Making mollusc fans, Part1

Succinea sp. by Bob Gosford

As far as I know myself and Gareth Catt were the first to apply the terminology of birding to snails. I don't go an a snail hunt any more: I go on a 'snail twitch' to 'tick' whatever species I can find.
In birding (AKA birdwatching), the concept of twitching is when one goes haring around the countryside spotting bird species, listing them as you go. Seeing a new species (for you) is referred to as 'getting a tick'. When you depart on one of your species-sighting-accumulation forays you say you are going 'on a twitch'.
Here in the desert you can only twitch live snails when it rains- not a common event. Journalist Bob Gosford had been in touch with me to hear more about my land snail projects but instead I took him out after a thunderstorm to find some local hot gastropods. He started off a little puzzled, but he soon got into it...

Read Bob's snail article here

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Albert: The First of a Million Molluscs

This is Albert, an adult Helix aspera. Snail fans out there will know H.aspera as the edible snail. Snail haters will know it as the pest garden snail. I know him as Albert, the snail who lives with me.

I ruminated for a while on which mollusc should be the first to get its mug on this blog. Which species deserves to be the face to launch this new initiative to bring molluscs and vertebrates that bit closer together? A rainbow-like Nudibranch? A jolly Mussel on its way into the pot? An impossibly small micromollusc? A gargantuan Giant Squid? A truculent Chiton? All are cool creatures, all would be great but there is a lot to be said for welcoming folk in with a familiar face.
Albert will appear again in time, sandwiched between cephalopods and bivalves, the bright, the bizarre and the beautiful.