The Snail Whisperer makes headlines

As the Northwest Times (Quest Newspapers) writes, ‘Life at a Snail’s pace might sound dull but the slow moving molluscs have lead one Albany Creek researcher on adventures more suited to an Indiana Jones movie than a lab‘.

At the Bush Blitz trip to Quinkan in far north Queensland, two new snail species were discovered but not before the Snail Whisperer suffered a tarantula bite. One species, a carnivorous snail, is separated from its closest relative at the Undara lava fields by 250km. The dry sandstone escarpments of this area are an unlikely environment for snails but the pockets of rainforest in this area showed that these animals representing 6% of terrestrial biodiversity, endure in even the smallest patches.

Conserving even small patches of vine thickets and rainforest is crucial to the survival of invertebrates.

Front page news

Mt Glorious Snails

Griffith University science students, Kris and Tim managed some amazing night shots of our native snails out and about in Mt Glorious, south-east Queensland during their studies of snail populations of this rainforest area.

Photos were taken by Ben Revell and show Thersites richmondiana  and Sphaerospira fraseri on their nocturnal journeys. Richmondiana is enjoying a feast on a fungus, one of our native snails’ favourite foods.

The David Attenborough Snail

attenborougharin-rubicundus

Photo: Simon Grove/ Australian Museum

david-attenborough-snail-1

Photo: James Morgan

This beautiful Tasmanian snail Attenborougharion rubicundus was named in honour of Sir David Attenborough. This colourful semi-slug’s usual habitat is restricted to a small area of south-east Tasmania in wet forests on the Tasman and Forestier peninsulas. The species was first described in 1978 and classified in the genus, Helicarion. However, recent work by the Australian Museum scientists have shown it is a separate genus.

This is the first genus to be named after Sir David who already has been named in 12 species.

During this visit to Sydney in early February, 2017, he was honoured by being named patron of Australia’s first museum, The Australian Museum.

Some beautiful helicarionids from eastern Australia

Here are some of our beautiful helicarionids [semi-slugs and glass snails] from eastern Australia.

L to R: Thularion semoni, Mt Sorrow, Queensland. J. Stanisic; Mysticarion porrectus, Point Lookout, NE New South Wales. Photo: Fran Guard; Macularion albimaculosa, Lamington, South Queensland. Photo: IBISCA; Parmavitrina megastoma, east of Tenterfield, eastern, New South Wales. Photo: Jan White.