Vineyards used to be a favourable place for a snail. [CK]
The Roman Snail (Helix pomatia) is a snail well known in the European fauna. It is quite large and so it is easily seen with the bare eye. Roman snails can often be encountered crawling near bushes in the early morning or in the evening in damp air.
Snails in general are not very well liked. Many are considered to be garden pests and are poisoned where they are met. Outside of scientific circles it is less well known that there actually are snails that neither are garden pests, nor do they even eat plants. They might, however be encountered in gardens!
Gastropod biology is a fascinating chapter of natural history. Who then would have thought a Roman snail to possess thousands of teeth, but only one foot, but that using it, snails can crawl upside down and over a razor blade's sharp edge?
Reproduction also has many interesting secrets to reveal: After all, Roman snails are not either male or female, but both, and at the same time. Unique in all of the animal kingdom: Roman snails and their relatives during mating use a love dart that is stung into the mate's body!
Roman snails they are called, because those snails have been picked for millennia to serve as human food. So today the Roman snail is a very well known species. But we should not be misled to assume we knew everything about this fascinating creature. Even today, new scientific discoveries are made on the field of Roman snail biology.
Pictures: Mag. (FH) Cornelia Kothmayer [CK] and Robert Nordsieck [RN].
Text: Robert Nordsieck.
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