Check out an article here from NatGeo
Also, see the below video 🙂
Check out an article here from NatGeo
Also, see the below video 🙂
I wanted to share an article with everyone that I found interesting and important.
This article is by John R. Platt written on August 10, 2016. I am copying and pasting it below as wordpress wasn’t in the sharing options. Here is the link also to the article: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/snails-going-extinct/
Ah, snails. They’re small. They’re slimy. They lack the charisma of a polar bear or a gorilla. And yet just like flora and fauna all over the world, they’re disappearing.
In Hawaii, a critically endangered snail called Achatinella fuscobasis has been brought into captivity to help learn how to keep them alive in the wild. In Alabama, conservation groups have petitioned to add the oblong rocksnail (Leptoxis compacta) to the Endangered Species List. In New Zealand, a snail known only as Rhytida oconnori has found itself constrained to a habitat just one square kilometer in size. On Fiji, scientists have expressed an “urgent need” to keep the island’s unique tree snails from going extinct. That fate may have already happened to three snail species in Malaysia after a mining company wiped out their only habitats, a series of limestone hills.
That’s just scratching the surface. By my count, nearly 140 scientific papers about endangered snails have been published so far this year.
All of which begs the question: why does the extinction of a snail matter?
Obviously the answer to that question depends on the exact species, but we can make generalizations. Many birds, fish and other species rely on snails as important parts of their diets. Most land snail species consume fungi and leaf litter, helping with decomposition, and many are carnivores, so they help keep other species in check.
Beyond that, there’s actually a lot that we can learn from snails. “From the most practical standpoint, snails have a few pretty interesting characteristics that tell us we should probably pay attention,” says snail researcher Rebecca Rundell, assistant professor at State University of New York. For one thing, their shells—which they carry with them their entire lives (because they’d die without them)—are made of calcium carbonate, which provides a record of their lives. Unlike plant husks or insect exoskeletons, these shells tend to persist after a snail has died, leaving behind a valuable tool for researchers. “We can look in marine sediment and pockets of soil for evidence of past ecological communities, and thus evidence for environmental change in a particular area,” she says.
Living snails can also serve as indicators when something is wrong with the environment, something we’re already seeing with ocean acidification. “If snails in the ocean that make their shells, their protection, exclusively from calcium carbonate are having trouble building them, then that means the ocean is in big trouble,” Rundell says.
They can provide similar clues on land, where land snails often have particularly narrow habitat requirements. “They need certain levels of moisture, shade, and decaying matter,” Rundell says. “When they don’t have this, they start dying off.” That’s just the start: if tiny land snails start to disappear, it’s important to ask what might happen next. “It might give you a chance to change course,” she says, “to detect subtle changes that humans might not otherwise be able to see until it is too late.”
Snails also help us to answer bigger questions. “The fact that many of these land snail species have small geographic ranges and that there are many species, make them fascinating subjects for learning about how life on Earth evolved,” Rundell says, adding that “scientists really rely on groups like Pacific island land snails to tell life’s story.”
That opportunity, however, is at risk. “We are losing snail species at an astronomical rate,” Rundell says, “one that is equivalent to, if not exceeding, the worldwide rate of loss of amphibians.” Most species have extremely limited ranges, making them, as she puts it, “particularly susceptible to human-induced extinction.”
Meanwhile, the number of people studying snails remains relatively small. “That means we are at a big disadvantage in not only documenting land snail diversity, particularly in the tropics, but also learning from it in terms of what snails have to tell us about how life on Earth evolved,” Rundell says.
Saving snails from extinction is no easy feat. For one thing, their habitats are just too easy to destroy. For another, we don’t even know what it would take to keep most snail species alive in captivity, a function of their narrow microhabitat requirements. “One snail species might be feeding on hundreds of species of fungi that are unique to that particular forest,” Rundell says. “It is very difficult to replicate these diets in the lab.” A handful of captive-breeding efforts have been successful, but Rundell says they are labor-intensive and hard to fund.
Rundell’s own work studying Pacific island snails has shown her what it would take to reverse this snail-extinction trend. “Ultimately what is most important for land snails is the human element: people working together to protect what is most unique, precious, and irreplaceable on these islands—native forest,” she says. “This involves documenting what is there using a combination of field work and the study of natural history museum specimens. It also involves learning lessons from the past unchecked development such as agriculture and later urbanization, particularly in lowland tropical forests, and figuring out how we can protect as many pieces left as possible.” This, she says, has the “added benefit of leaving parts of the watershed, storm protection, and forest food and medicinal resources intact for people to survive in these places.”
So why does snail extinction matter? Just like everything else, snails are an important piece of the puzzle that makes this planet function. They’re also a way to help us better understand how we got here—and maybe where we’re going.
Previously in Extinction Countdown:
The post arrived with an odd round container shape pressing out from inside of a letter size envelope. No return address. Upon opening the envelope I discovered a little taped up plastic container, with four small holes in the top. Carefully inspecting the container, turning it to the side, I could see what looked to be two shells, holes facing one another taped together. Yes, you read that right, the shells inside of the taped up container were taped together and inside those shells were what I hoped were live snails
I don’t know how I thought they would arrive but it wasn’t like this. I guess I had an idea of them crawling around freely in a moist container with some kind of vegetation to eat. The sight was a bit unsettling, however after a bit of contemplating this was likely the safest way for them to travel. So the shipper was likely not being some terrible person but was trying to protect them on the ride. I can’t really think of why someone would do this otherwise.
I quickly untapped them and to my surprise one was moving around inside his shell and actually starting to come out. I peeked into the other shell and I feared the worse as there was no movement and a solid black color. After a bit of warm running water, the first snail happily came out to see his new home. (Picture above)
As for the second snail, I held him for about an hour hoping that he just needed to get warmed up, placed him in a container with a heating pad under it. After about an hour of no movement :/, I started to get worried. I tried several times to mist him and gently run warm water over him. After about 3 hours, the continued use of the heating pad, warm water and several tempting food options the second snail fianlly made his appearance.
Radish seemed to be his favorite food item 🙂 If you follow the link you can see him eating and you can actually see the food pass through his head, really neat. Youtube Link -Chocolate Banded Snail
I will definitely take more videos and hopefully capture the eating a bit closer and clearer. But for now, they are safe and happy in their new home.
Just wanted to share these awesome images with everyone. To see the full post on how the pictures were taken and other information about them please see check out the following link. http://melvynyeo.deviantart.com/art/Snail-embryos-515507798
Really? Yes, it’s a snail door knob! You can see the other interesting doorknobs at the following link.
Ordered this book today and from the review, it looks like a pretty good book. Figured that others may like it/want to read it also. I’ll get back to everyone on how I liked it once I finish, probably over the weekend.
Here what it’s about (Amazon.com):
In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth Tova Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her encounter with a Neohelix albolabris—a common woodland snail.
While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of her own place in the world.
Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, offering a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal.
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world can illuminate our own human existence, while providing an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.
So I wanted to share these ADORABLE handmade snails from Greta’s Creatures and Gifts. They are handmade and just too awesome to not share with all the snail lovers out there. Greta is SUPER talented and makes lots of other neat creatures from Totoros to Yoda and so many more!!!! Take a look @gretascreaturesandgifts
Unfortunately from a kitchen but a really neat look.