Mallory's picture

Snail for ID

Observed: 25th May 2013 By: MalloryMallory’s reputation in Invertebrates

I first recovered some of these shells two years ago when I was planting some trees in a small relic reed bed. (We were working on a project to improve the condition of the habitat and in this case planting a screen to block an undesirable view). The shells where all buried at a depth of 25cm under the soil in a distinct layer. I have not found any alive in the reed bed. I assume they would have been present alive a good number of years ago. It is a dry reed bed currently so I am not even sure whether they are aquatic or terrestrial. Can they tell me any thing about the environment at the time they were alive and the species please?

Species interactions

No interactions present.


stevegregory's picture

Snails are good environmental indicators

Such empty shells may persist for decades in the correct conditions (millennia in perfect conditions). If they shells belong to species with narrow habitat requirements (e.g. fussy ancient woodland species) they can tell you a lot about past conditions. With the exception of Ashfordia (a wetland species), those I mention above are 'generalists'. The assemblage as a whole could inform as to whether conditions were open or shaded, wet or dry. However, do take into account that shells washed out with flood debris (should you be on the Thames flood-plain) may have been transported many miles from their point of origin before being deposited at a new location.


Mallory's picture

Environmental indicators

Thanks very much for your suggestions for ID and your comments regarding environmental indicators. The location is Thames flood plain.