Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Look Small and See More - Land Snails

On a recent trip to search for salamanders I found only a single salamander species, and after some half-hearted picking up of snail shells I was astonished to find I had eight different kinds from the same hillside! Dan Dourson recently completed a field guide to the nearly 200 species of land snails found in Kentucky ("Kentucky's Land Snails and Their Ecological Communities"). It has the most useful taxonomic key to identification that I have ever used. For those who are unfamiliar with taxonomic keys the saying is: "they are made for people who can't use them by people who don't need them", but that is certainly not true in this case. It is filled with pictures, and even the relative novice can use it successfully.

A Few Floyds Fork Land Snails
Starting from top left large white shell going clockwise:
Toothed Globe, Mesodon zaletus
Proud Globe, Mesodon elevatus
Some kind of "Button" snail, Mesomphix sp.
Gray-foot Lancetooth, Haplotrema concavum
Flamed Disk, Anguispira alternata
Shagreen, Inflectarius inflectatus
Inland Slitmouth, Stenotrema stenotrema
Slender Walker, Pomatiopsis lapidaria (center tiny one)

Pomatiopsis lapidaria
Here's a closeup of that tiny one in the middle of the previous photo (slender walker). It's a minuscule amphibious species from seeps and moist hillsides.

Euchemotrema fraternum
Here's a closeup of a live upland pillsnail (Euchemotrema fraternum) (Not from Floyds Fork).

My wife found this great mixture of patterns and colors by looking small.

Floyds Fork Curve reduced
The winter hillside along Floyds Fork where I found at least 9 snail species and 1 salamander species.


Ryan Ankeny said...

Very cool. Gotta show the snails some respect!

Karen Bonsell said...

Great info! I never would have known there were so many different kinds! Nice photos also! Great idea putting that tiny one on a penny!

Michelle said...

Very cool post! Thanks for sharing all that info!

Anonymous said...

Cool post! I am glad the book has been so useful. I really did try to write it so that it could be useful for both the novice and experienced. Your feedback is important to me. I liked that quote about keys. It is nice to know the book is getting used!

Warm regards,
Dan Dourson

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