Discover species of snails and slugs in Los Angeles as a citizen scientist

Lila Higgins grew up playing with snails and slugs in her garden in England. Now she’s being paid to do so at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLA) as a community science officer.

And she wants you to play too.

“We want people to take pictures of snails,” she says. “Also the slugs, don’t forget the slugs!”

February marks Snailblitz, an annual event where NHMLA asks Southern California residents to find, photograph, and send in pictures of the snails and slugs they see in and around their neighborhood.

“If you live in this area and you find a snail or slug in your yard, or on a hike, when you’re in a local park or mountain, you might find a rare or endangered species,” says Higgins.

An Otala lactea has been photographed in Montecito Heights. Photo by Jann Vendetti.

Snails and slugs are fairly understudied, Higgins says, especially in Southern California. That’s why NHMLA malacologist (which stands for slug and snail scientist) Dr. Jann Vendetti needs help finding out what species of snails and slugs live in our area of ​​Southern California, and or.

Last year, the museum received 1,000 sightings and documented 50 different species, from the globally endangered western Hemphill slug to the southern flat snail.


NHMLA malacologist Jann Vendetti discovered this Ambigolimax in Descanso Gardens. Photo by Jann Vendetti.

Higgins recommends avoiding touching snails and slugs. If you do, be sure to wash your hands afterwards as they can make you sick.

“If you can take a picture without disturbing them, it will be better because then they can continue to live their happy little snail or slug life,” she says.

Use this downloadable bingo card to see if you can make enough sightings to get five in a row or fill your card. You can follow other people’s comments here.


Can you get five in a row? Image courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.

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