Glorious Grovesnails

Grovesnail (Cepaea nemoralis)
A solitary Grovesnail (Cepaea nemoralis) makes its way along a fence rail.

On my regular afternoon walk to the Courtenay Airpark I noticed a rout of close to two dozen snails on the rail of a cement fence near the Old House Restaurant. The snails were Grovesnails (Cepaea nemoralis), a common garden snail that was introduced to North America from Europe. The shells of this medium sized snail (20-25mm) in diameter are variable, ranging in colour from brown to light yellow and often marked with dark bands.

Grovesnail (Cepaea nemoralis)
A small rout of Grovesnails (Cepaea nemoralis).

I watched and photographed the snails for about 15 minutes. A few were active, moving slowly along the fence rail while others collected in groups of shells with no sign of the animal at all. Why had these snails gathered here I wondered? No other section of the fence had snails on it and there didn’t seem to be any snails on the ground. I asked my almost three year old son what he thought and he said that “The snails are going to fall down.”

Grovesnail (Cepaea nemoralis)
A closeup detail of a Grovesnail (Cepaea nemoralis) shell.

The snails didn’t fall down – they just continued doing whatever it was that they were doing. We continued on our way having thoroughly enjoyed our glorious Grovesnail watching experience.

If you’ve enjoyed this post you might want to check out the Circus of the Spineless, hosted this month by Arthropoda, for more invertebrate goodness.

Circus of the Spineless