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Other Invertebrates

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Roman snail

Helix pomatia

The Roman snail is Europe's largest species of air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusc. The soft body consists of a head and a flat foot. There are four tentacles, the two longer ones each provided with an eye at their end. The shell is creamy white to light brownish, often with indistinct brown colour bands. The shell has five to six whorls. The width of the shell is up to 45 mm.The height of the shell is 47 mm. The Roman snail has a life expectancy of 6 - 8 years.

It is distributed in central and Southeaster Europe at altitudes of up to 2000 metres. It occurs in mountains, along rivers, in deciduous forests, forest edges, meadows, parks, and and shrubby ravines on calcerous substrate. In Belarus, in inhabits old damp parks and ravines.

It feeds on leaves and grass. The Roman snail prefers areas where the ground and atmosphere are damp, and will hide under rocks or in the share during dry weather. During dry periods in the summer, the snail seals off the opening of the carapace with a special substance. It comes out of the shell in rainy weather. The snail is nocturnal. Maximum speed of movement is 7 cm/m. The snail hibernates in specially constructed hibernation chambers, by digging itself into the ground to a depth of 5 - 10 cm. Although the Roman snail is a hermaphrodite, two individuals are needed to produce fertilised eggs. After mating, the snail can keep the fertilised eggs for up to one year. The snail digs a hole in the ground to lay the eggs.

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