Three different specimens of our old friend Cepaea nemoralis.The snail’s “foot,” which gave rise to the name for this whole class of Molluscs, Gastropoda, which means simply stomach-foot (and is anatomically incorrect; the stomach is in the portion of the animal that is inside the shell).Just a size comparison with some other snails found during this clean up. The mm ruler looks bent because the macro lens distorts at the edges, either that or the omphalos of the shells draws gravity in like a black hole.Unknown species on the left;Discus rotundatus on the right.
Posts Tagged 'snails'
Tags: Brooklyn, Gastropoda, mollusca, snails
Tags: Brooklyn, snails
I like the idea of one gastropod hanging out in the shell of another. You’ve seen this before: the Queen Conch shells I lugged home — not from the Caribbean, but from Dead Horse Bay’s eroding landfill — provide an excellent shelter for terrestrial snails. Cepaea nemoralis, the Brown-lipped snail. A new squatter, as an individual, but a familiar species.
Responding to my last post, snail maven Aydin Örstan thought the third of the terrestrial snails harboring on the marine snail shell in my backyard was Vallonia costata. If so — and it looks like it to this mollusk amateur — that would make for five different species of snails found in my concrete slab of a Brooklyn backyard so far.
This snail is tiny, 2mm across, and posed here on FDR’s eye on a dime. My antique snail book, Shells from Cape Cod to Cape May with Special Reference to the New York City Area (Dover, 1971, reprinting a 1961 original) by Jacobson and Emerson, notes that this Eurasian species wasn’t reported in the NYC area until “recently” when some were found in the Bronx, in a colony subsequently destroyed by construction. Jacobson and Emerson inform me that the ridge-like axial ribs on this shell are also known as costae.The hollow at the center of the whorl is called an umbilicus.
Tags: Brooklyn, Dead Horse Bay, snails
Some time ago, I found a couple of queen conch shells, Strombus gigas, at Dead Horse Bay. Needless to say, this is not this tropical species typical habitat. But the landfill at Dead Horse Bay turns up the strangest things sometimes. Perhaps these were somebody’s souvenirs once. Anyway, a ruthless recycler, I put the shells in the Back 40 for ornamental purposes. The other day, I turned over the one that sits on the concrete. Two — perhaps three — species of snails were attached.Cepaea nemoralis.Discus rotundatus.Tiny: no more than two millimeters across. Wondering if these — there was at least one more — are young versions of the above Discus? UPDATE: wonders never cease; this is actually probably V. costata, as discussed in the next post.
Sculptural conch sounding the arrival of Neptune at the Bailey Fountain at Grand Army Plaza.
Tags: beetles, invertebrates, snails
Burying beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis. Gray lancetooth snail, Haplotrema concavum (I think). Six-spotted tiger beetle, Cicindela sexguttata.
A snail in the Back 40, hunkered down on the fence. Invasive Cepaea nemoralis, no stranger here. Showed up on Friday. Some mucous glue holds this onto the vertical surface, the animal withdrawn deep into the whorls of the shell.
Snails are members of the class Gastropoda, a term derived from Greek words for stomach and foot, based on the mistaken belief that their foot is also their stomach. In fact their guts are usually located in that part of the snail that stays inside its shell. Here’s what it looks like from the earth’s eye view. This did not retract into its shell, as many snails will. The slime trail this left on the garden rocks was a faint slivery blue.
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Calvert Vaux Park, snails
Calvert Vaux was born in London (the family name rhymes with “fox”), immigrated to America, worked with Andrew Jackson Dowling, the founding father of American landscape architecture, and published Villas and Cottages, a landmark of American neo-Gothic design. Vaux’s great claim to fame, however, is teaming up with Frederick Law Olmsted to work on both Central and Prospect Parks. The two men had a famously testy relationship, but the glory of their parks is testament to their clash of prickly genius. Olmsted, who wrote a lot and had a son/step-son carry his name well into the 20th century, long overshadowed Vaux (there was a benighted time when Olmsted got sole credit for the parks). Both men had sad ends, Olmsted sinking into senility, Vaux drowning in Gravesend Bay in 1895. It seems that one day he took a walk and never came back. It was rather mysterious. His body washed ashore along the south coast of the borough. Some belated recognition has come in the renaming of Dreier-Offerman Park in Bensonhurst for him. (The park had been named for a home for unwed mothers; some of the land cobbled together for the park had been used for landfill from construction of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.) Half-sunk barges and the famous yellow submarine clog the inlet between the southern and northern parts of the park. The inlet in particular becomes muddy flat at low tide, making it rich bird habitat (I saw a guy crabbing there once, too); and the park as a whole is an important first stop for migrating birds coming up from the south. A good chunk of the park is currently fenced off, part of the sports-facilities-heavy re-design. The “contaminated soil removal” signs are a reminder of how the area was long treated. The park is not particularly pedestrian-friendly, being between the water and the infernal Belt Parkway. But we managed to infiltrate anyway, walking from Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island. The other nearby subway stop is the D train at 25th Avenue/86th St., with a pedestrian bridge crossing the highway at 27th Ave. Actually, there is a bumpy road in, but we went down Bay 44th Street, crossed a tire-filled gully (as we were eyed by big feral cats), and went through a hole in the baseball field fence that some earlier commandos had snipped. A juvenile red-shouldered hawk — which has been reported hanging around the park for a while now, rather unusual for the borough — on the fence, and two killdeer on the field greeted us along with the usual Canada and brant geese. South of the active baseball fields, we found a surprising expanse of flat land bordering Coney Island Creek, which was still full of geese, ducks, and gulls. Only other other person was about, mysteriously emerging from the reeds with his bicycle (he, no doubt, wondered about us with our bins and rooting around for snail shells). The views of the Narrows were superlative. In the winter-squashed grasses along the shore we found a huge number of land snail shells. These are Cepaea nemoralis, which is also known as the brown-lipped or English garden snail. Note that the three smaller snails at the bottom all have umbilicuses, navel-like holes, which I thought would mean they are another species. After consulting with a specialist, Aydin Orstan of the excellent Snail Tales blog, I learned that juvenile C. nemoralis have open umbilicuses, and the occasional adult will too.
Tags: Gastropoda, snails, Virgin Gorda
Tags: Brooklyn, Gastropoda, invertebrates, slugs, snails
More tidying up in the Back 40 in preparation for winter. My backyard is a Brutalist expanse of poured concrete, so I use numerous pots for planters. All were salvaged from the street. There’s also a found-on-the-sidewalk wooden box, festively decorated with painted balloons. While moving this the other day, I found these creatures beneath it. Generally shunned by the dainty among us, these creatures of the shady damp — slug, snail, pillbug — are key to decomposition and recycling nutrients, and thus making the world go ’round and ’round. An earthworm, three more of the disk snails pictured in a previous post, a centipede, some smaller pillbugs, and several way-too-small-to-figure-out things were under there as well.
A closer look at the Common pillbug, Armadillidium vulgare, also known as common woodlouse or roly-poly. When disturbed or otherwise bummed out, these roll up into a tight armored ball. Love the overlapping plates here. These are not insects, btw; they’re crustaceans.
I find this land snail strangely beautiful: the contrast of amber shell and blue grey gastropod itself. The shell is about 1/4th-inch across, so bigger than the disks, and much smoother. The umbilicus, which is on the other side of the shell, is very deep (like Jimmy Joyce’s Omphalos). I think it’s a member of the family of glass snails, Oxychilidae. It looks like it might be Oxychilus draparnaldi, but they are supposed to be rather larger, so I’m not sure.
“We must not feel a childish disgust at the investigations of the meaner animals. For there is something marvelous in all natural things.” — Aristotle