Monday, July 19, 2010

The life or death debate

This morning, I spotted a sparkling shell in the sunlight. A snail! Photo time. After I took a few pictures, I moved it near a rock border, out of the way so it wouldn't get crunched underfoot. Maybe that wasn't such a good idea. I later checked online, and this exotic species, Rumina decollata, isn't very nice to have in the Wildscape. According to the late John Jackman, an entomologist at Texas A&M, "This exotic snail is generally a uniform brown or tan color. The shell is about an inch long and elongate, and the tip of older snails is often broken off. It is transported in nursery stock and may accompany the brown garden snail in landscape plantings. The decollate snail is sometimes promoted as a biological control agent to feed on the brown garden snail. However, the use of Rumina decollata as a biological control agent should be considered carefully. It feeds on plants too, so it can become a plant pest even if it is beneficial as a predator on other snail pests."

To kill or not to kill? I hate to kill anything (except a few things, like mosquitos and roaches in the house). So if I run into this snail again, I guess I'll toss it across the street in the vacant field....


mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

I never kill my decollate snails. I do not have a big problem with snails, decollates or other types, eating my plants though.

Sheila said...

I have never run into one of those!

Shoichi Sano said...

Request of Rumina speciments
Dear Sheryl Smith-Rodgers

I am taking the liberty to introduce myself first.
My name is Shoichi Sano, a first grade graduate student of Professor Akihiko Matsukuma, the Earth and Planetary Sciences, in Kyushu University, Japan.
I’ve been studying a land snail, Rumina decollata, on my master course.
This snails invaded Japan for the first time about 20 years ago.

My research purpose is to find out geographical origin of this species in Japan, by analyzing its DNA.
It's said that the decollata snails in Japan are the Iberian Peninsula origin, but I do not understand it precisely.
So I have to examine DNA of decollata snails at various locations, for example, Spain, U.S.A, China etc.
I would very much like to examine overseas populations.

I’m sending a message because I’ve hit your photo (, searching the word “Rumina decollata (decollata snail)”.

Now, please let me make some requests for you.
I should be most grateful if you could kindly send me R. decollata specimens with ethanol presented animals or dryed animals.

Excuse me for bothering you at the first contact, but I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Greetings, friend!

I wish I could help you but that was the only encounter I've had with that species. Plus, with our current drought (no rain), we're having fewer snails, insects, reptiles, etc. in our Wildscape. I wish you the best of luck with your research project. If I happen onto another snail, I'd let you know but I don't see your email address.

sheryl rodgers

a-bert said...

My 1 yr old recently ingested one of these garden snails, and wondered if I should be concerned? I guess I've watched too many programs where snails can pass parasites to humans... Is this possible with this variety? Can someone please inform me if this is possible. Thank you

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Hmmm, I don't know! Could you call your physician?

Lucia Gaviglio said...

Hi. im from URUGUAY and have that snail in the graden of the house i just bought. Are you still interested in this?

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

I don't know if Shoichi Sano is still collecting these snails, Lucia. Hopefully, she'll see your post and let us know.

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