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WANTED: the Roman snail (Helix pomatia)

(Weinberschnecke, Wijngaardslak, Escargot de Bourgogne, Ślimak winniczek, etc.)

Do you have Helix pomatia in your backyard? Are you seeing it in your neighbourhood? Please, send us a sample for our study! We would be very grateful, if you could contribute snails from previously unsampled areas.

  • Helix pomatia is one of the most common land snails in large parts of Europe but its evolutionary history is poorly known.

  • Its present range is vast, but to large parts it has been allegedly introduced by humans.

  • In central Europe, it was widespread also during previous interglacials and is deemed to be an indicator of warm periods. However, it remains unclear where it survived last glaciation and where it originated from.

  • We are trying to reconstruct the history of the species to better understand the development of the European land snail fauna.


View šneci in a larger map

The sampling is very easy. Take one or two snails from a locality, and put them into a textile bag (we usually use nylon socks). Include also locality info (preferably with GPS coordinates and a brief description of the habitat). The locality label must be put into a plastic cover (such as a small zipper bag), otherwise it gets wet and eaten(!) by the snail. Living snails can be stored in a fridge for weeks without harm, and they also survive the transport well, as long as they are kept dry.

The snails in the bags can be packed into any box, and sent by post to this address:
Ondrej Korabek
Department of Ecology, Charles University in Prague
Vinicna 7
CZ-12844 Prague 2
Czech Republic

In case of any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at ondrej.korabek@gmail.com.

Illustrations of the Roman snail (Helix pomatia) from Wikimedia Commons:

 

Amanda and Jonathan Grobe

 

H. Zell

 

HansHillewaert

 

Le.Loup.Gris

 

 

Fritz Geller Grimm

 

 

4028mdk09

 

Who can be mistaken for Helix?

Due to its distinctive large (3-5 cm) globular brown shell, The Roman snail can be confused with only a few other species. If you happen to collect other Helix species (mostly found in southeast Europe but occasionally colonizing also Central and Western European cities), we will appreciate them as well. 

We are not interested in the following two snails: The garden snail Cornu aspersum is more common than H. pomatia in some western parts of the Roman snail's range, and is similarly sized. However, it has a speckled shell, which distinguishes it reliably from H. pomatia. Arianta arbustorum, the copse snail, also has a globular brown shell, but it is much smaller (<2.5 cm), the shell is speckled, and the animal body is black.

If you are not sure what you got, you can send a digital photo of your animals to get them identified!

Illustrations of the unwanted species Cornu aspersum from Wikimedia Commons:

 

Amanda and Jonathan Grobe

 

H. Zell

 

HansHillewaert

 

Rasbak

 

 

Fritz Geller Grimm

 

 

4028mdk09