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Roman Snail or Edible Snail

  Weinbergschnecken kommen nicht nur in Weinbergen vor...
Vineyards used to be a favourable place for  a snail. [CK]

The Roman Snail (Helix pomatia) is a well known snail in the European fauna. It is quite large and so easily seen with the bare eye. Roman snails can often be encountered crawling near bushes in the early morning or in the even, when the air is damp.

Snails in general are not very well liked. Many are considered to be garden pests and are poisoned when they are met. Outside of scientific circles it is less well known that there are actually snails, that are not garden pests, some, that not even eat plants, though they might appear in gardens.

Gastropod biology is a fascinating chapter of natural history. Who then would have thought, that a Roman snail has got thousands of teeth, but only one foot, but that using it, they can crawl upside down and over a razor's sharp blade?

Reproduction also has many interesting secrets to reveal. After all, Roman snails are not either male or female, but both, and at the same time. A unique thing in all animal kingdom is: Roman snails and their relatives during mating use a love dart, that is stung into the mate's body.

Roman snails they are called, because they have been picked for millennia to serve as Human food. That is why the Roman snail is a very well known species. But one should not be led to the assumption, that we know everything about this fascinating creature. Even today, new scientific discoveries are made on the field of Roman snail biology.

Pictures: Mag. (FH) Cornelia Kothmayer [CK] and Robert Nordsieck [RN].
Text: Robert Nordsieck.

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Institut für Deutsche Schneckenzucht Nersingen