Field of Science

Name That Bug #1

One downside to no longer being a student is that I no longer have quite so much time to spend on blog posts (well, not if I want to be able to justify my salary), so I'm putting up an image ID challenge instead, and I'll see if I can make this a regular feature. Besides, I've noticed that these tend to be popular at other people's sites, and the reader count in my right sidebar has been edging tantalisingly close to 100 for the last few months. I want to see if I can finally hit the triple digits (the fact that I've never been able to work out exactly what that number represents is irrelevant).

If this works well, I'll try and make it a regular thing. But first up, let's start with a relatively simple one (indeed, if Aydin's reading this, I may ask him to hold off for a bit because he'll probably recognise it instantly):

Tell me what it is, and tell me something about the significance of this specimen.

UPDATE: The identity of this image is given here. The image comes from here.


  1. I believe this is an unusual form of the common European garden snail, Helix aspersa. I think this is in fact the drawing accompanying the species description. Now, I know there is some debate about the actual genus and Helix might not be the correct one, and this drawing is part of the debate...

  2. OK, this sounds fun. Although it would be better if you were giving away a Fabulous Prize, like say, oh maybe a STICKER.

    So my guess was going to be The Horns of Satan. But then I checked Aydin’s blog, and apparently it isn’t about Satan, but rather snails (go figure.) Anyway, I’ll try the Spirula or Vermicularia. (Yes I know these are only genera, but I think a good handicap for this contest would be that lay-people need only get the genus. Oh and we should get 2 guesses.)

  3. I have no clue about the snail, but the number in the sidebar is something like the number of distinct addresses that have fetched the feed today, plus the number of subscribers reported by services like Google Reader. So it's approximately the number of people who read the Catalogue in their feedreaders. I don't understand why the world's best systematics blog has only a hundred of them, though.

  4. I suppose if I now wrote a bit more detailed comment, I wouldn't be spoiling the fun. Yes, that is an abnormal ("scaliform") shell of the snail formerly known as Helix aspersa. This old post of mine has a photo of an actual specimen.

  5. I knew the readership number couldn't be just subscribers - if it involves page views as well, that explains why it tends to go up and down depending on how recently anything's been posted. Thank you.

    The identity of this image has now been revealed.


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