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Keep in touch with the good earth
Friday
Apr192013

Rain, rain, beautiful rain - and a tiny snail

At last there has been some decent rain over most of the North Island, and we have had some of it.  There is a lot of catching up before the soil moisture is back to normal but already plants look fresher, more perky.  And the raindrops are a very pretty embellishment.  But wait, there's more...I was admiring the glistening drops on the rather tired fennel heads, flowering mostly over, seed not yet set, when I saw a tiny snail.  Generally I don't regard snails with fondness - they have big appetites - but this diminutive version was very appealing.  It was so young it had a white foot and its pale translucent body, when extended - presumably in search of food - revealed some of the little snail's anatomy.  With its body stretching upwards we see the eyespots at the end of its two long tentacles and the smaller tentacles above the mouth are also extended.  The dark nervous tissue coming down from the eyes forms clumps, or ganglia, and the pale brown streak is its gut, I think.  The white foot is holding on to the stalk of a fennel flower.  At the junction of the shell with the body and foot there is a little dark spot with some glistening around it which I think is moisture beside the breathing hole.  It was on the move...Food!  In the act of feeding on a fennel flower, its little white foot holding on tight.  As it ventured further up it was lit by the bright overcast sky.With this backlighting the dark ganglia are even more evident as is the delicacy of the shell, showing shadows of the organs it is protecting.  But the little snail is now quite exposed...watch out for the birds!

And oh for a macro lens - these are tight crops, so I regret that they can't be enlarged further.  But I still had fun finding out more about snails than I knew before, and enjoying some small-animal cuteness.

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