12 April 2014

Happy Spring, Snails!

Empty shells... : (

The winter has passed and shells of dead snails are all around. However, those that did survive the cold, leave traces of their awakening all around their habitats. At first, I looked through the university botanical garden, but then discovered even more of them. 

A pretty epiphragm

These tear-shaped objects are what closes the snail's shell for the winter and when the snails "wake up", they push them out with their foot and leave them around for us to find. It is called epiphragm and it is made of calcified snail slime (therefore it is also refferred to calcareous epiphragm).

A handful of epiphragms

Every spring, I am having great fun looking for these and this year I also engaged my pupils in looking for them during our little voluntary trip to the botanical gardens.

How I usually find them

 Aren't they wonderful? Ok, to those non-bio-nerds out there, they probably aren't, but I love them.


  1. How fascinating! I didn't know that snails did this but I used to find lots of them around the garden when I was young. Their shells are so pretty.

  2. Oooo, I taught someone something, how exciting! :) Not all of them do it, but some do, Helix pomatia (Roman snail) does it. Shells are wonderful.

  3. Proud to be a nerd! This is really interesting, though I do wish they would all live in the plots around mine and not in mine. Little munchers xx

    1. Carrie, have you read "Slow Passion"? Its all about snails in the garden and a womans journey from wanting to get rid of them to actually studying them. Its one of the best books I read!


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