It happened late this afternoon, when I took some photos of a stem of the wait-a-while or lawyer vine (Calamus australis) that's trying to take over my shed. Wait-a-while is a climbing palm that is common along rainforest edges. It derives both common names from the abundant, backward pointing hooks that help the plant latch onto suitable substrates for climbing. They also latch onto unsuitable substrates include sleeves, pants and skin and can take quite a while to dislodge. I find that swearing helps.
Anyway, after I photographed the spines along the main stem — which seem to have no function other than to deter herbivores — and downloaded the pics, I spotted two little shells nestling among the spines. I'm not sure exactly what they, but I'm pretty sure they're either euconulids or helicarionids. I'll have to examine one of them under the hand lens. This is not going to be easy. Well, the hand lens bit will be a doddle. Finding the critters again will be the tricky part.
Here's that stem again with the snails' locations marked. (It would have been helpful if the plant had looked like this in the wild. I have similar gripes about geological maps.)
Here's the upper one.
And the one further down the stem.
Living among the spines makes sense when there are so many tree-dwelling vertebrates — birds, lizards and frogs — that would like nothing more than a juicy snack. Makes me wonder what might be living on stinging trees ...
More on these snails* when I get to see them up close.
* May not actually be the same snails.