Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Snail Graffiti

Wildlife stories from a vacation in Maine – part 3

I like periwinkles. They’re plump, hardy little snails that can withstand all the hardships that a rocky shore has to offer, and when I was in grad school they never tried to commit suicide in the lab the way my research subjects did.

[look at (part of) that sweet face!]

It’s only recently, however, that I discovered—or perhaps rediscovered—another one of their charms. As they crawl over the rocks at low tide to graze on seaweed and films of algae, they leave little brine-and-slime trails behind them.

The trails aren’t the magical, glittering lines that land snails and slugs leave—these are subtler and more watery—but they tell a wonderful story about where the snails have been and how they’ve come to arrive where they are.

The stories, admittedly, lack motive, but that’s what science—or creative writing—is for.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

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