Top to Bottom

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 18 October 2015 21:48

This photo has made me realise I need to keep my iPhone 6 in my pocket and start getting the Coolpix 4500 out of my bag more often! This is the Top Snail Trochoidea elegans, a naturalised snail that, in Sussex, is only found on the Downs near Denton. Most likely it arrived via Newhaven. There are hundreds up there and as a non-threatening accidental introduction, they are quite a pleasant addition to our local molluscan fauna. They are unusual among terrestrial snails in their wide conical form, quite similar to the top shells you get on the coast. Smaller than I though but very variable and quite odd looking from underneath. Thanks to Steve Teale for the gen and Mark Telfer (who couldn't make it today) for the inspiration. 

I walked a little further down the hill and realised I was right next to one of the farms I surveyed for Natural England back in 2010/11, very close to the fence line in this post. I went into Stump Bottom where I found many more Top Snails, though much smaller ones this time. This patch of the NVC community CG7 (dominated by Wild Thyme, Mouse-ear Hawkweed and the moss Homalothecium lutescens) but all I found was Sitona humeralis and Galeruca tanaceti. Any day now I'm gonna hit 1000 beetles but it's not today! 

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