Friday, 26 October 2007

Chain mail snail

Few molluscs are weirder than the armour-plated snail found around hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean. All it needs is a lance tucked under its shell ...

3 comments:

Peter said...

I don't quite know where else to post this, snails not being my cup of tea, and all, but the creatures were a constant backdrop to my trip to Tunisia last October.

The weather was unsually warm even for Tunisia, and snails seeking respite from the hot earth covered stalks and leaves and the cool stones of the Roman ruins, giving everything the appearance of some strange, glistening flowering plant.

I was in the northern half of the country. What kinds of snails would I have been seeing?
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Snail said...

I am terribly envious, Peter! (Not about the snails but the trip.) I'm not sure what they might be but that behaviour is also common in the several Mediterranean species introduced into southern Australia.

F'r instance, Theba pisana climbs and seals onto vertical surfaces in summer. They are sometimes so numerous that in infested areas, the fence posts look as though they've got really bad acne. This summer/low rainfall period of dormancy is called aestivation.

Aydin at Snail's Tales has some info about aestivating snails here and here. I'll ask him if he has an idea of what species might have been decorating the ruins.

Peter said...

Yes, these Tunisian snails were doing just what you say Theba pisana do. Perhaps Mediterranean snails act around the Mediterranean just as they do in southern Australia.

I wouldn't say the vertical surfaces appeared to have acne, but from a distance, they looked like pussy willows.
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/