Thursday, 9 September 2010

Snail's pace

I can't begin to explain how lovely it is to spend a day in the wet forest of the Otway Ranges. The tall dripping ferns, the fungi, the damp mulch, the sound of running water, moss, tall trees, birds calling, shrubs and herbs starting to flower, the solitude - all contribute to a wonderful environment. It's been raining this year for a change so the dampness is a true delight. I'm sure the flora and fauna are appreciating it as well.

We went down a walking track at Blanketleaf Picnic Ground north of Lorne and there was so much to see it took us more than an hour to go only about 200 metres in and back again. Interesting fungi was everywhere and that's what slowed us down the most. I'll post some photos of those later.

But Rosalind also found two snails, the rare Otway Snail that I've blogged about before here and one I hadn't seen before, a little Helicarion nigra.

It had a small glossy shell, too small to retract into. It is quite slug-like. Snail will know more than me but it seemed to me to be a primitive type of snail. We found it in moss on the ground on a damp south-facing slope in the forest and moved it to a piece of bark to get its portrait taken. The shell is horizontal and quite flat. I wonder if it's carnivorous like the Otway Snail.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Boobook
I once found a snail with the small shallow shell similar to your black one. That was after a period of very heavy rain. Everything in the rainforest was drenched. Then the snails could travel safely everywhere.
"Snail" set me right with it.
"The semi-slug (family Helicarionidae)"
So looks like you are on the money.
Great looking creature, your black one.
I wonder if anything dares to eat it?
Maybe a Lyrebird?

Boobook said...

Thanks Dennis
I'm way out of my knowledge zone when it comes to snails but it was lovely to see a native snail rather than the introduced garden snail.
PS There are no lyrebirds in the Otways but we do have Bassian Thrush and the Otway Snail that could be predators.