Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Molluska, Class Gastropoda, Family Helicidae,

Genus/species:   Cornu aspersum aka Helix aspersa

DISTRIBUTON:  Native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe, from northwest Africa and Iberia east to Asia Minor, and north to the British Isles. Has become very abundant in all human-disturbed habitats in regions with a temperate climate.

APPEARANCE:  hard, thin calcareous shell 25–40 mm in diameter and 25–35 mm high, with four or five whorls. The shell is somewhat variable in color and shade but is generally dark brown or chestnut with yellow stripes, flecks, or streaks. The body is soft and slimy, brownish-grey, and is retracted entirely into the shell when the animal is inactive or threatened.  The head bears four tentacles, the upper two of which have eye-like light sensors, and the lower two of which are smaller, tactile and olfactory sensory structures.

DIET: Herbivore and has a wide range of host plants (It feeds on plants only). It feeds on numerous types of fruit trees, vegetable crops, garden flowers, and cereals.

REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT:  Like other Pulmonata, C.aspera is a hermaphrodite, producing both male and female gametes. Mating garden snails shoot at one another with long, sharp “love” darts. If a dart hits its mark, it improves that snail’s odds of reproduction.  For garden snails, there’s more to sex than shooting darts. But “he” can’t fertilize “her” own eggs, so it must mate with another. Courtship takes hours as two snails rub bodies, exchange “love” bites and wave the tentacles on their heads.


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