Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

Snails


Giant African land snail, Siput babi
Achatina fulica

This invasive species is the largest snail in urban Malaysian gardens. Its shell can grow up to 15-20cm tall but relatively smaller in gardens. It has a brown, striped shell with tall spire. This snail feeds on decaying plant materials and fresh plant shoots.

Local name: Siput babi

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship, detritivore

Level in food chain: Primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Herbivore, detritivore

Food items: Leaves, dropped fruits, decaying tree trunks and branches; fresh vegetables

Microhabitat:  Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in crevices, in leaf litter under trees. Sometimes climbs and adheres to tree trunks at fairly high areas above ground.


Glossy garden snail
Sarika sp.

It has a very flat shell with flat spire. The shell is brown, glossy and has many whorls (spirals). The size of shell varies from 2 to 4 cm wide. It has worm-like appendages organ called the mantle lobe that extends from its main body and wiggles on the outer surface of the shell. Not much is known about the role of this mantle lobe but it is suspected to be useful for the snail to maintain a clean, healthy and glossy shell. Free vacuum service, am I right?

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship, scavenger

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore, detritivore

Food items: Leaves, dropped fruits, decaying tree trunks and branches; fresh vegetables; dead animal meat

Microhabitat:  Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in crevices, in leaf litter under trees.


Asian tramp snail
Bradybaena similaris

It has semi-globular shell with flat spire. The shell is brown with occasional dark brown band at periphery. Shell size is around 1 to 2 cm wide. This snail is a hermaphrodite i.e. it has both male and female reproductive organs! During mating, one will stab the other with its love dart to inject hormones that encourage each other to mate and exchange genetic materials.

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Predator, prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Food items: Fresh leaves, fungi, snail eggs

Microhabitat:  Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in crevices, in leaf litter under trees. Sometimes it climbs on low trees or shrubs, adhering to underside of leaves.


Bioluminescent garden snail
Quantula striata

The only bioluminescent land snail in the world. It has a special organ on its head that flashes a yellow-green light especially during juvenile stage. However, this phenomenon is rarely observed despite the snail being common in Malaysia. This snail has relatively flattish shell with somewhat tall spire. The shell is many whorled, dark to light brown at the top and whitish at the bottom. Size is around 3 to 5 cm wide.

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Predator, prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Food items: Decaying plant materials like leaves, dropped fruits, decaying tree trunks and branches; snail eggs

Microhabitat: Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in crevices, in leaf litter under trees during the day. Sometimes climbs on low trees or shrubs, adhering to underside of leaves.

Barrackpore hive snail
Kaliella barrakporensis

It is a microsnail. It has a conical, high-spired shell. The shell is many whorled, glossy and brown in colour. The size of shell is up to 5 mm in height.

Local name: –

Activity pattern: No data

Ecological function: No data

Level in food chain: No data

Feeding behaviour: No data

Food item: No data

Microhabitat: Often on low trees or shrubs, adhering to underside of leaves. Sometimes on rock and concrete walls in gardens.

Two-toned gullela snail

Huttonella bicolor

It has elongated, tall-spired shell with many whorls. Shell size is around 6 mm. Shell is translucent white when it is empty; soft body is orange-yellow. The opening of shell has many teeth-like structures. Sometimes prey on members of its own species. Some scientists suspect the distinctive teeth-like structures of its shell aperture is a barrier to prevent cannibals and other predators from eating the individual.

Local name: –

Activity pattern: No data

Ecological function: Predator, prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Tertiary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Carnivore

Food item: Usually small land snails like the miniature awlsnail; sometimes larger land snails too but is usually not fatal to such large prey

Microhabitat: Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, in leaf litter under trees during the day.

Miniature awlsnail

Subulina octona

It has elongated, high-spired shell with many whorls. Shell size is up to 3 cm. Shell is glossy, translucent brown to white when it is empty; soft body is yellow. The opening of shell is lack of teeth-like structures. Mature adults often retain their eggs within their shell. It is possibly to increase chances of survival for the young snails before they are deposited in the soil and hatched.

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship, detritivore

Level in food chain: Primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Detritivore

Food item: Decaying plant materials like leaves, dropped fruits, decaying tree trunks and branches

Microhabitat: Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in leaf litter under trees during the day.

Yellow-shelled semi-slug

Parmarion martensi

It has a small, yellowish, glossy shell on its back that can be partially covered with a fleshy mantle, making it look like it is carrying a backpack. Soft body is brown. It can reach up to 5 cm in length when animal is stretched out

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship, detritivore

Level in food chain: Primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Herbivore, detritivore

Food item: Decaying plant materials, flowers, dropped or ripened fruits

Microhabitat: Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in leaf litter under trees during the day.