Where do Snails come from?


Roman snail near Dourbes, Belgium. Diameter: ~...

Image via Wikipedia

“Where do snails come from?”
By:
Ray Harrison
Richmond Heights Memorial Library
Richmond Heights, MO

The Roman Snail is the largest European snail, with a globular shell reaching a diameter of 2 in. (5 cm), colored creamy white with pale brown spiral bands. Prized as food, especially in France, the species was farmed by the Romans. Considered a vineyard pest, the species is widespread in Central and Southeast Europe; it has been introduced into United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and Spain. Its courtship is elaborate, taking several hours and involving exchange of love darts. Batches of about 40 eggs laid in ground from late spring to summer hatch three to five weeks later, according to Grzimek’s Animal Life.

Since we no longer have Grzimek’s Animal Life one can find information about Snails in Science in Context. If you search for Snails you will find a main article on Snails. The following is from the article:

Snails have occupied practically every type of habitat that supports animal life. Dehydration appears to be the greatest danger for terrestrial snails, while predation is the greatest danger for marine snails. Bieler has estimated that 53% of all snail species are prosobranchs, largely marine, 4% opisthobranchs, entirely marine, and the remaining 43% pulmonates, terrestrial and freshwater. In intertidal zones, numbers of prosobranchs such as the common periwinkle Littorina littorea is immense. According to Abbott, Littorina probably reached North America from Europe on driftwood “before the time of the Vikings” (about AD 1000) and gradually extended its range from Newfoundland to Ocean City, Maryland. In exchange, about 100 years ago northern Europe was invaded by the common slipper shell Crepidula fornicata, which has proliferated to the point of being a pest of English oyster beds.

For younger students use Kids InfoBits or World Book For Kids

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