Following The Snail Road

Strawberry Snail (Trochulus striolatus)

It still never fails to amaze and fascinate me how Mother Nature has created so many diverse forms of life. And how these differing forms of life have evolved and adapted to their given environments in order to survive the rigors of life. Take the shell of this Strawberry Snail, how beautifully formed and crafted it is, how fine and delicately sculptured, taking the artist millions of years to perfect. Yet, the work is never complete, such is evolution.

I came across the snail pictured in the above two photographs as it was going down to the pond this morning. It is a relatively small snail with a shell diameter of around 12mm.

They are found in woodland, hedgerows and gardens. Common and widespread, but scarce and localised in Scotland.

Photographs taken May 2014 and July 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire.


Purple Topshell

Gibbula umbilicalis

Also called the ‘Flat Topshell’, the shell is dull green, cream or grey with broad red-purple diagonal stripes. It is a relatively small flattened  topshell with a large round umbilicus (a deep hole on the underside of the shell). Shell length 1.6mm.

Seen on the uppershore in rockpools and on open rocks. This gastropod feeds on microscopic algae, which it grazes from rock surfaces using a brush-like radula on the tongue. Found on the western shores of the UK.

Photographs taken August 2011, Saundersfoot, Wales, and August 2015, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon.

Pod Razor Shell

Ensis siliqua

Also called the ‘Common Razor Shell’, the shell is dull white with a yellowish tinted pink or purple colour. It is a large species, long and narrow, and the largest European species of razor shell. Length up to 20mm.

It is found on the lower shore buried in a deep vertical burrow from where it filter-feeds organic detritus via a pair of short siphons. It can live up to 20 years. Common and widespread.

Photographs taken August 2011, Saundersfoot, Wales, and August 2012, Bournemouth.