Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Seasonal snails

I am moving north next year. (Yes, it really is next year — only 499 days to go.) Of the many things that I'm looking forward to in FNQ, the fauna tops the list. In particular, the snails*.

While on the Atherton Tablelands in July – August last year, I picked up a bunch of shells. They're all relatively common camaenid species, some of which have been featured here before. As I noted then, it's much easier to find broken shells than it is to find the living animals. The rainforest predators are more efficient at hunting snails than I am and the scrub fowl much better at sieving them out of the soil.

So what are these snails?

The pointy snail at the botton right hand corner of the picture above is Rhynchotrochus macgillivrayi (Forbes 1851).

Hadra bipartita (Férussac 1822) makes a nice meal for anything big enough to crack the shell.

Jacksonena rudis (Hedley 1912) is a Tablelands endemic, occurring in rainforest from Tinaroo to Mount Bellenden Ker.

Hadra (Gnarosophia) bellendenkerensis (Brazier 1875) has a wide distribution in the Wet Tropics. It extends from Home Rule (near Cooktown) south to Mission Beach and Mount Pershouse. It is almost as big as Hadra bipartita, but is nowhere near as abundant.

One of the projects I'd like to undertake when I'm up next up north is an analysis of shell damage. Who are the murderers?

* Never saw that one coming, did you?


Tracey said...

lol. Yes, indeed, *never* saw that one coming. ;-)

Snail said...

I like to do the unexpected!


>Who are the murderers?

That would be neat to know, but how would you find out?

Snail said...

I'm not sure. I guess it would be a snaily CSI. Any ideas are most welcome.

Pittas love snails and smash up shells on anvils, in the same way as do thrushes and blackbirds, so it might be fairly easy to record that pattern of damage.

The mammalian predators might be more difficult. I think I'd have to call for the help of someone who works on them.