(Excuse my gastropodical, gastronomical French – it is very crudité…)
Terrestrial snails are not an obvious element of the Alberta Parkland where I hail from. They are very small and you are unlikely to spot them unless you are digging in soil humus or leaf litter. However, in the milder (relatively) climes of southern Alberta, land snails are more common and of noticeable size. While at Maskinonge Lake in Wateron Lakes National Park, I did a bit of rock-flipping to see what abideth beneath. Under one rock I found two specimens of Alberta’s largest terrestrial snail – the Subalpine Mountain Snail, Oreohelix subrudis, that has been known to grow up to 20mm in size. This specimen was about 10mm long.
- The book, Identifying Land Snails and Slugs in Canada can be ordered from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency by phoning 1-800-442-2342.
(Thanks to Suzanne Aubell, Scott Digweed and Robert Forsyth for all the help with the identification, which, thankfully, did not require me to measure the snail’s penis size…apparently a technique used to distinguish between some species)