Why Study Snails?

I recently received a copy of Land Snails and Slugs of the Pacific Northwest, by Thomas E. Burke.  I was both pleased and disappointed with it.

I was pleased because finally here is a good field guide to terrestrial snails.  I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of field guides to land snails anywhere in the United States that were published within the last fifty years.  And I would have fingers left over.  The photos are in color and of good quality, and as near as I can tell the keys are clear as well.

I was disappointed because the photos are mostly of empty shells.  How much could you get out of a field guide to birds that only had pictures of the bird skeletons or feathers?  Also, the range of the book does not quite cover my area.


Still, it is a start.  Far better than what existed before this book was published.

shimeki side

You can’t really identify a snail without getting a good look at the shell from several angles.

Snails can be quite frustrating to study, and the lack of good field guides is only a part of the problem.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in invertebrates, snails and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why Study Snails?

  1. juliecache says:

    I completely agree that snail field guides are lacking. I try to help children with the woodland snails and shells they find (only two kinds that we’ve noticed), but I can’t help but wonder if there are more if we just knew where to look. I’ve used a Reader’s Digest book for IDing. I have an invertebrate field guide, but seldom use it. might have to break it open again to see why I don’t prefer it.

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