Jan 032012

After a bit of research, I discovered that the little snails that we saw on our walk down through the chalk cliffs at Foreness were the Pointed Snail – Cochlicella acuta.

There wasn’t masses of information but this maritime snail, appears to like calcareous grounds or coastal grassland.
I noticed that there were an abundance of the snails on the stems of dead flowers, on the sheltered side of the walkway and after doing a bit of reading, I think they were aestivating (a period of inactivity and low metabolic function), basically waiting for the right conditions in which to move, feed and breed again. I think the maritime habitat is more likely to be frost-free, and they tend to do well in the south.
Interestingly, they have been introduced into several countries, including Australia, where they have become an invasive pest. So when we think of invasive, we tend to think of other species creating havoc in our own country, but it seems our own can cause just as much havoc when in foreign lands.
Apparently, these snails can be the intermediate host for a terrestrial trematode parasite called Brachylaima cribbi, which eventually crosses to birds, reptiles, mammals and even humans.
Amazing stuff- who would have thought!
Think I could get into snails!


 Posted by on 3 January 2012 at 4:32 pm

  3 Responses to “Cochlicella acuta – Pointed Snail”

Comments (3)
  1. Very unlikely Julie – you are far to big!

  2. Aren’t they fascinating? I found them in chalk/flint woodland in Selsdon, Croydon. The sites I’ve checked say they are found near the sea; I’m miles from the sea. I am near several golf courses with grass and sand… I wonder if this is relevant? The other main snail I’ve found is a banded snail.
    Didn’t know they could be so interesting!

  3. I found these by the 1000 today at Rock Dunes in Cornwall, also aestivating, exactly the same as yours. These dunes are calcareous, an unusual habitat in Cornwall restricted to north coast dune systems only.