snails and RFI

Subject: snails and RFI
From: Anne & Roger Green <>
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 1997 08:43:54 -0800
John Leonard wrote: abundant calcium in the soil (to build their
> shells). I assume that this wouldn't be available in the arid parts.
> anyone care to comment on this?
I can assure you there's plenty of available calcium in the soils of
semi-arid (250mm rainfall)South Australia, and billions of smallish,
basically white "Italian Snails" using it to build their shells. The
snails are an introduced sp. and cause economic problems in cereal
growing areas, where they "roost" on plant stems and clog up the headers
(harvesting machines) with a gooey mess. The good news is that Ibis love
them. I've clocked a flock of Ibis consuming these snails at a steady
one per second per bird for approx 10 minutes, which was when my
patience ran
out. This is one of the reasons S.A. conservationists and aware farmers
call the bird "The Farmers' Friend" and use it as the logo for the
annual Ibis Awards, presented by Landcare for environmentally friendly
primary production.
I'd be very interested if anyone knows if the snails' impact on food
resources in arid/semi-arid ecosystems has been researched, please.
Regards, Anne
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