Your New Year's Resolution: Look for more Snails and Slugs

January 3, 2017

It is a sparkling New Year! But have you sat down and thought long and hard about a New Year's resolution yet? We know that they can be overwhelming, and some people think they're cliche, but we are here to help. The only catch is, it might be a bit unconventional...

NHMLA's recommended New Year's resolution:

I will dedicate my waking hours to looking for snails and slugs in Southern California.

Keelback slug (Genus Ambigolimax) emerging from a stinkhorn mushroom (Family Phallaceae), found in NHMLA's Nature Gardens.

Here's how to get started:

1) Go outside (after it rains can be particularly fruitful).

2) Look for snails and slugs. Damp spots are best--under bushes, among wood pieces in wood piles, between and under rocks or bricks, on tree bark, on plants, among leaves, along wet sidewalks, and popping out of mushrooms! Remember if you flip a log or rock, put it back the way you found it (it is likely an animal's home).

3) Take pictures of any snail and slugs you find. Snails and slugs move slowly, so it is fairly easy to take multiple shots that are in focus. Also, try to take pictures from different angles, particularly for snails. Getting images of the top and sides of the shell can be helpful. If it is a snail-less shell, they can often still be identified. Try to get an image of the shell opening. Don't forget to take note of where you are and the day/time.

4) Send us your pictures. You can submit them directly to iNaturalist (using the free smartphone app, or on your home computer), e-mail them to slime@nhm.org, or tag them #natureinLA on social media.

We are interested in any and all snail/slugs you might find. But because you are not going to do anything by halves with your New Year's resolution, keep on the look out for these five species. If any of these were found in Southern California (and submitted to the SLIME project) they would be new records for the region. They are all native to far off places but may be closer than we think... 

Common names: Zachrysia provisoria-Cuban brown snail, Meghimatium bilineatum-Chinese slug, Parmarion martensi-yellow-shelled semi-slug, Boettgerilla pallens-worm slug, and Veronicella cubensis-Cuban leatherleaf slug.

(Posted by: Jann Vendetti)

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