european nature gallery


Saturday, 20 July 2019

Roman snail

 Helix pomatia, common names the Roman snail, Burgundy snail, edible snail or escargot, is a species of large, edible, air-breathing land snail, a pulmonate gastropod terrestrial mollusc in the family Helicidae. It is a European species. In the English language it is called by the French name escargot when used in cooking (escargot simply means 'snail'). Although this species is highly prized as a food, it is difficult to cultivate and rarely farmed commercially.
The shell is creamy white to light brownish, often with indistinct brown colour bands. The shell has five to six whorls. The aperture is large. The apertural margin is white and slightly reflected in adult snails. The umbilicus is narrow and partly covered by the reflected columellar margin.
The width of the shell is 30–50 mm. The height of the shell is 30–45 mm.
In southeastern Europe, H. pomatia lives in forests, open habitats, gardens, vineyards, especially along rivers, confined to calcareous substrate. In central Europe, it occurs in open forests and shrubland on calcareous substrate. It prefers high humidity and lower temperatures, and needs loose soil for burrowing to hibernate and lay its eggs. It lives up to 2100 m above sea level in the Alps, but usually below 2000 m. In the south of England, it is restricted to undisturbed grassy or bushy wastelands, usually not in gardens; it has a low reproduction rate and low powers of dispersal.
Average distance of migration reaches 3.5–6.0 m.
This snail is hermaphroditic. Reproduction in central Europe begins at the end of May.
Eggs are laid in June and July, in clutches of 40–65 eggs. The size of the egg is 5.5–6.5 mm or 8.6 × 7.2 mm. Juveniles hatch after three to four weeks, and may consume their siblings under unfavourable climate conditions. Maturity is reached after two to five years. The life span is up to 20 years, but snails die faster often because of drying in summer and freezing in winter. Ten-year-old individuals are probably not uncommon in natural populations. The maximum lifespan is 35 years.
During estivation or hibernation, this species creates a calcareous epiphragm to seal the opening of the shell.

(latin: Helix pomatia)

Saturday, 20 July 2019