May I introduce, the beautiful rosy colored Pacific Sideband snail?
This is the largest native terrestrial land snail in British Columbia. While aquatic snails have gills, this is one of the ‘pulmanate’ snails that has evolved its mantle cavity into a lung and breathes through a single opening on the right side of its body.
The beautiful pink and red body is a flash of color amidst the moss, only eclipsed by the stunning banded pattern adorning its shell (can you tell that I really love them? 😜)
These snails are hermaphroditic, and are one of the species that utilize ‘love darts’ during courtship. This calcareous dart has a species specific shape that is coated with a pheromone rich mucus designed to make the female organs of their hermaphroditic partner more receptive. They literally shoot each other. A missed shot means courtship is over. Too much information???
These snails are found not only on the moist forest floor with plenty of leaf litter, ferns and moss, but climbing trees as well, sometimes meters high. They have been known to live up to six years. While they can eat any plant, they are not often garden pests, preferring instead the native lichens, fungi, ferns and other forest plant material that they evolved with.
Because of their slow movement and reliance on moist woodland habitat, they cannot quickly shift home ranges in response to rising temperatures, continuous human development, and decreased rainfall, and are increasingly under pressure.
I’m always thrilled to come upon one of these beauties in the forest, especially when a light mist is making their shell shine.