The publication of the two somewhat hefty field guides has paved the way for an opportunity to produce this more general guide to Australia’s native land snails, their diversity and role in the Australian environment. In contrast to the structured nature of the two field guides, this handbook is a more entertaining overview of Australia’s native land snail fauna through a short introduction to the many aspects of their natural history, biology and classification. A guide to the families of Australia’s native snails presents diagnostic features of live snails and their shells in an easy to understand way to assist with their identification. A comprehensive coverage of introduced families deals with the many exotic species acquired by Australia since foundation. In a unique bioregional approach to snail identification, the reader is taken on a trek through some of Australia’s iconic regions highlighting their endemic and special snail faunas. This section is supplemented with key localities to some of the species to be found along the way, to enable the keen naturalist to observe these creatures in the wild.
The shells of most land snails are intrinsically beautiful but so are the live snails. Accordingly, the guide is richly illustrated with some of Australia’s most iconic snail species in living colour to help the reader fully appreciate these wonderful creatures.
The Australian native land snail fauna is, with the exception of a few widely ranging species, wholly endemic. There is also a cohort of species, introduced following European settlement, that inhabit urban gardens and otherwise disturbed environments such as orchards and farmlands. Among these are a small number of serious pest species whose impact will be briefly discussed in more detail in the family treatments.
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