Saturday, January 26, 2013


While looking through the slug/snail tub that has been overrun by babies, I noticed this little fellow:

My apologies for the poor quality of the picture, but it still makes the point. This little Deroceras baby is merely half a slug! His body stops at his mantle. It doesn't appear to be doing him any harm aside from making him comically short, nor do the others seem to be rejecting him. He behaves just like a normal slug.  He's as cute as a freaking button and I truly hope he grows up. I have a few stubby slugs of L. valentiana, but nothing like this little guy.

Due to the short lifespan and quick generations of Deroceras, I figured I'd see some mutations, but I never expected anything like this.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


When I was 16, my dad bought me a head lamp because I would be out in the back yard well after midnight hunting insects and spiders. To facilitate this, I would run down the batteries on his flashlights. This thing not only saved his flashlights from much use, abuse and batteries, but also allowed me to hunt hands-free.

I still have this head lamp and I've found it supremely convenient for viewing my slugs and snails, even in the daylight. It has also enabled me to see the new ambersnail hatchlings that have emerged! They're tinier than I ever thought possible- ten or more of them could fit on the head of a pin. As if that wasn't surprise enough, while I was changing the substrate in their parents' bin (another story entirely), I found five more clutches! The two adults have definitely been getting it on! Anyway, I managed to get a couple of photographs, even though I wasn't sure that my camera was capable of capturing something so small.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Succineid Expectations

When I found a single pair of ambersnails while in central Illinois, I had hoped very much that they would breed. I was not disappointed. Several days ago, I happened to catch them in the throes of slimy passion. When I went to check on the slugs and snails in that particular bin this morning, I was treated to another surprise:

A lovely little bundle of ambersnail eggs was nestled in the moss! At first, they just looked like an amorphous blob of clear goo, but as the hours passed, the individual eggs began to take shape. I can't wait until they hatch!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Species!

I recently journeyed to central Illinois to visit my parents for the holidays. And like any dedicated gastropod addict, I didn't let the snow, ice and bitter cold keep me from hunting for more slugs and snails. Because they're like potato chips: once you pop, you just can't stop! Aside from that simple and profound truth, there are species up there that we don't have in St. Louis. Or that I haven't been able to find. I'd imagine that it's normal for the selection to be pretty limited in the middle of the city. Either way, I made off like a slime bandit.

 I've pegged these two as Arion hortensis. As you can see, one is a dark slate gray with an orange belly while the other is a lighter gray with a pale belly. I'm fairly certain that they're different color morphs of the same species. At last count, I have three, but I suspect that there are a few more hiding in the main tub (they're all kept in clear storage bins).

This ornate little guy is an Anguispira alternata, or flamed tigersnail. This photo was taken by my mother, who is a talented photographer. It was like glamor shots, but for gastropods.

 Another photo by my mother. I believe this snail to be Oxyloma elegans, a species of ambersnail. I was fortunate enough to find two, so I have a (hopefully) breeding pair!

This snail is about half a centimeter long. It's really hard to accurately identify something so small, especially since there are many other species of this general size and appearance. However, I'm thinking that he may be Gastrocopta armifera, or the armed snaggletooth snail. I should have kept these guys in the container I transported them in. Instead, I put them in the main tub until I could get to the store to buy another one. Big mistake, because they're really hard to find in there.

02/08/13 EDIT: This snail is actually a Cochlicopa lubrica

I have no idea what kind of snail this guy is. He's a very plain brown, and the underside of his shell features an umbilicus, like he has a belly button.

02/08/13 EDIT: This snail is a Triodopsis tridentata

Last, but certainly not least, is the largest Deroceras reticulatum I've ever seen. He measures more than 2 inches in length. I was fortunate enough to witness him mating with another, comically smaller, D. reticulatum, so hopefully I'll get some giant babies from him.