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Friday, July 22, 2011

An Alien Snail, Yes Really

Hackert Lake

It's been so hot that I've gone swimming three times this week. There's a nice little inland lake about three miles from me. It's Hackert Lake. Loretta and I went for a dip on Tuesday, and then I went yesterday and today.

floating snail shell

There were quite a few floating snail shells. I had to fake this picture, because I couldn't swim with the camera, and it doesn't really give the effect. What they looked like was large brown bubbles- not a lot of them, but just one here, and one there. I had to pick one up to discover it was a shell (empty).

mystery snail shell

Maybe some of you already know what this is, but I had to look it up. This is a Chinese Mystery Snail, Viviparus malleatus. The reason you might know, while I don't, is that if you have an aquarium, these are really popular to clean the tanks of algae.

It's alien, not as "from another planet," but as "doesn't belong in the wild here." There is a native Viviparus, but it's Viviparus georgianus, and it has bands that go around the shell, instead of lengthwise stripes.

However, I couldn't find any information that said they were becoming a problem where they have become naturalized, so that is good.

mystery snail shell

Some child found a good use for one- to decorate a castle!




10 comments:

RNSANE said...

Well, that's quite interesting. We are overrun in some areas here with the European brown snail - the kind you eat - and I do love escargot but I would go to the trouble to clean them which is a bit of a complicated process. I ave bought the canned ones and done the garlic and butter and I do have the shells and the pans,etc.

When I was taking night classes near me at Skyline College, there were so many on the grass on foggy evenings, they'd be crunching under your feet - you couldn't avoid stepping on them. I had visions of slipping and falling and being consumed by them!

RNSANE said...

Well, that's quite interesting. We are overrun in some areas here with the European brown snail - the kind you eat - and I do love escargot but I would go to the trouble to clean them which is a bit of a complicated process. I ave bought the canned ones and done the garlic and butter and I do have the shells and the pans,etc.

When I was taking night classes near me at Skyline College, there were so many on the grass on foggy evenings, they'd be crunching under your feet - you couldn't avoid stepping on them. I had visions of slipping and falling and being consumed by them!

betchai said...

i love snail :) the second picture shouts attention, the contrast is beautiful, and the first one is very peaceful

rainfield61 said...

A snail moved faster in water, but it drowned itself.

Ann said...

I've been using the pool to cool off this past week although it got to the point where it wasn't even refreshing any more.
Love that snail shell. It sure is a long way from home

Umihoney said...

Hi,

How peaceful and serene. The 2nd pix is amazing.I luv it.

Chinese Mystery Snail..lovely name.I don't know the names of many snails here but the ones I know aren't as nice in Malay ..e.g.the garden snail is called Pig Snail in Malay ..hahaha

Thanks for sharing.Have a great weekend.
Umi

Kloggers/Polly said...

If you don't mind a pun then I suppose you could say .. taken at a snail's pace!

We have loads of snails at the moment some are very large brown ones that it is claimed were brought over by the Romans - I think they used to cook and eat them. The others are smaller and some are quite pretty a sort of pink to pale beige and almost shimmery like a mother of pearl effect with stripes. There are also many tiny ones that climb up plants and sometimes walls .. they don't appear to cause any harm and the birds often have them for dinner.

Sharkbytes said...

Carmen- that's quite an image of snails crunching underfoot.

betchai- I'm not sure that I've ever had escargot.

rainfield- I was actually wondering why these shells were empty. I wonder if ducks or geese eat them

Ann- I know what you mean. The little lake is so warm that it's refreshing, but doesn't cool me down all that much.

Umihoney- with the snail more in a corner it would make a nice desktop

Polly- I don't think we have loads of snails- we have quite a few kinds, but I don't see great quantities of them.

Lin said...

Those are trapdoor snails and I have them in my pond. They have never-ending appetites for algae, so pond owners love them. Mine don't overwinter well, so I end up having to buy some new ones each year.

Their shells also grow like fingernails--you can see the ridges where it grows.

Cool find, Sharkey!!

Sharkbytes said...

Lin- Have you been sneaking up here and bringing your snails?

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