Ian Killeen
Field meetings are the focus of this issue of Mollusc World, with reports and lots of high quality images of snails and slugs from all 7 meetings the Society has organised. The Field meetings have always provided an important part of the programme and continue to offer members the opportunity to visit interesting molluscan sites, to meet other members, to learn from experts, and of course, to provide new data for the Society’s marine and non-marine recording schemes. This year’s programme has included trips as geographically spread as Northern Ireland, Anglesey, north Norfolk as well as southern England. Yet, in spite of the numbers of members living within relatively easy reach of at least one venue, the meetings are not particularly well attended, even a day trip to a single site requires much organisation from the leader (as well as the requirement to write it up for Mollusc World), so please get out in 2009 and give your full support to Field Meetings.
Here’s an interesting item that has come in from Graham Long as I was writing this editorial - I would be very pleased to hear other views on dispersal of this species or other snails:
The discussion of the way in which Hygromia cinctella has spread so quickly has produced little firm evidence to support any of the suggestions made so far. Recently, however, a Romsey based member of the Hampshire Fungus Recording Group arrived at a site in the New Forest in good company. Firmly ‘glued’ around the headlights of his car and within the radiator grill were 20 or so adult Hygromia cinctella. He said that his car had not been used for the past two weeks during which there had been some very heavy rain. It would seem that the snails had taken refuge on the vehicle, managing to work their way up via the front near side wheel. All were alive and had survived several very cold nights with early morning frosts when the temperature of their mounts must have dropped considerably. They would no doubt have travelled to Scotland or across Europe had the car been thus directed.
 And so to the festive season – the season when all one’s friends and relatives that know you like snails and shells think it’s a great idea to buy some glass snail ornament or some other piece of tacky paraphernalia with a molluscan theme. We religiously put them on our shelves, in front of our mollusc books (always in front of the one we want to read), they get covered in dust, but they are always there just in case the giver of the ‘gift’ comes to visit. Is it time to start giving handkerchiefs again? Merry Christmas to all!