Our same juvenile Araneus diadematus has been working diligently on a new web every day or two, and one afternoon as it strung silk between tall stalks of English plantain (Plantago lanceolata), nasturtiums and jade plant, I noticed a brown garden snail, Helix aspersa, somehow climbing a slender stem of the plantain. The snail had no trouble climbing such a thin plant stalk, nor did its weight bend the stem down.

Helix aspersa, which some pesky mollusk biologists (but not all of them) classify as Cornu aspersum (the change from aspersa to aspersum is required because helix is feminine in Latin and cornu, or “horn,” is neuter), was introduced into San Francisco during the Gold Rush, because people thought it might be a good edible species like its larger cousin Helix pomatia. Bay Area gardeners have been cursing the ravenous species ever since.

Helix aspersa climb 3Helix aspersa climb 2Helix aspersa climb 1

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