Thursday, 24 February 2011

I love the smell of garlic in the morning

The instructions were quite clear 'To detect the odour, prod the animal gently...' I duly obliged and was then aware of a pronounced smell of garlic. Who'd have thought it, a snail that comes ready-garlicked!

And so the BTO has started on the land-based molluscs, a new group for me and so it is going to be a slow learning curve. With Cepaea nemoralis and Helix aspersa dealt with, and quickly discovering that you can't key out most juvenile snails, I tackled the small, flattened snail that had come from the old ruin. It quite readily keyed out to an Oxychilus species (one of four), the spire shape and ground colour suggesting it was one of two possibilities. Only one of these produces a pronounced smell of garlic when agitated (one other produces a fainter smell sometimes) and this, together with the development of the whorls, told me it was Oxychilus alliarius - needless to say this is the most widespread of these small snails.

What next? A trout that when prodded smells of orange, a freshwater shrimp that comes ready potted or a lamb that smells of mint (of course, can't count the lamb it isn't a wild animal).

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