Slugs and Snails (New Naturalist 133)
The gastropods are the only group of molluscs to have representatives living on land as well as in marine and freshwaters. Slugs and snails are found from the tundra through to deserts, and on all continents apart from Antarctica. They have reached the most remote oceanic islands and undergone amazing evolutionary radiations there. As pests, they are remarkably tenacious and hard to control. They have evolved to span a huge range of size. Through all this, they have retained a set of shapes and structures very similar to those of their marine relatives and ancestors. Furthermore it is evident that the emergence onto land happened not once, but several times, originating in different groups of aquatic snails.
In this long-anticipated volume the author introduces us to this remarkable group of gastropods, telling us the stories of the snail familiar to all British and many other readers, the garden snail, and of the giant African snail, introduced into many tropical countries, as well as providing a comprehensive natural history of slugs and snails of the British Isles specifically. Snails can be and have been used to explore important ideas in evolutionary biology, in biogeography and in ecology, and Cameron draws out these explorations, looking specifically at the role of evolution in determining how our understanding of snails has developed.
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