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Archive for the ‘Mollusk’ Category

Last spring, I came across empty snail shells while walking in the park near my apartment in Stockholm.  It was March and I was excited that the snow was melting and spring was hopefully on its way, instead of flowers coming up through the melting snow I found these shells.  I thought they were pretty, nonetheless, with their brown and white lines.

Garden Banded Snail Shells, Stockholm, Sweden (March, 2010)
Garden Banded Snail Shells, Stockholm, Sweden (March, 2010)

There are two very similar species: the garden banded snail (or “white-lipped snail”) and the grove snail (or “brown-lipped snail”).  I believe these are the white-lipped snail because there is no brown lip and because white-lipped snails are closer to the arctic than the brown-lipped.

I have to admit, I had to look up how to tag these guys, my taxonomy is a bit rusty! They belong in the Mollusk phylum because they have no backbone (and specifically, the Gastropod class is made up of snails and slugs).  In Latin, these little guys are called cepaea hortensis.  I looked up “snail” in Swedish and found that they use the same word for snail as for slug, en snigel. A snail is a slug with a shell, snigel med skal. I dug a little bit deeper and found that it’s true, snails and slugs are not very different except for the shell and the habitat.

Garden banded snail, Stockholm, Sweden (June)
Garden banded snail, Stockholm, Sweden (June)

Three months later, in June, I went for a walk after a rain storm, and lo and behold, I found these garden banded snails alive and climbing everywhere – along hand rails and rock ledges.

 

Garden banded snail, Stockholm, Sweden (June)

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