Buggin with Bridgey – March 2023

Buggin with Bridgey is a Monthly report of sightings from the Let’s Go Buggin Cairns Nature Tour in the Cairns Botanic Gardens.  As the months roll by, subtle changes in the seasons bring sightings of new creatures and this report aims to give people a wrap up of the current animals seen as well as provide an ongoing citizen science account of our wonderful critters that can be seen in the tropical north of Queensland.

Snails and Slugs in the Cairns Botanic Gardens

and in the Wet Tropics

A White Rainforest Snail on a wet branch in the Cairns Botanic Gardens

White Rainforest Snail aka Opalescent Pendant Snail (Noctepuna perlucidum)

Snails everywhere! The Cairns Botanic Gardens and the Wet Tropics host a myriad of these Gastropods. With a beautiful ongoing wet season we have been seeing a lot of beautiful snails of all sizes and formations.  The natural world will never cease to amaze (and amuse) me with its diversity and life. The hot and humid tropical weather is perfect for a snail safari.

White Rainforest Snail aka Opalescent Pendant Snail (Noctepuna perlucidum)

Probably the most common snail we see in the Cairns Botanic Gardens on Let’s Go Buggin Tours are these beautiful White Rainforest Snails also known as Opalescent Pendant Snails.  As soon as the rain starts these small beautiful photogenic snails appear and start slithering around on leaves, tree trunks and even handrails. They have quite an interesting look as their eyes are on the main part of their body rather than at the end of their tentacles like a lot of land snails. It is thought that the snails have evolved from Sea-snails which is why the eyes are on that part of the body.  I can see them during the day or at night as long as there is plenty of moisture on the foliage for them to move around otherwise they will just tuck themselves in and have a sleep and wait for the next rain to wake them up again.

A white snail on a green leaf looking at the camera with the eyes on its body.

White Rainforest Snail aka Opalescent Pendant Snail (Noctepuna perlucidum)

Chameleon Semi-Slug (Fastosarion brazieri)

These endemic snails of the wet tropics only appeared on my radar this year. I managed to see quite a few of them that I bacame quite fascinated with them.  They are part of the semi-slug family however the thin layer of their soft body covers a very fragile shell that is only slightly exposed. I love the design of the snail’s tail. With its sloped vertical spoiler-like shape you could almost think that this has evolved for speed, but these snails only move at a typical snail speed.

A large snail slithering on a rock. Chameleon Semi-Slug in the Wet Tropics.

Chameleon Semi-Slug (Fastosarion brazieri)

Common semi-slug (Parmacochlea sp.) either furca or balios

This is probably the second most common gastropod we see in the Cairns Botanic Gardens on Let’s Go Buggin Tours. They seem halfway between a snail and a slug.  They have a fleshy hump that almost looks as though the shell has fallen off.  For a lot of people on tours this is the first time they’ve ever heard of a ‘semi slug’ and they often are quite amused by the concept of this half-half gastropod.

Macgillivray’s Treesnail (Rhynchotrochus macgillivrayi)

Another endemic snail to the Wet Tropics, this snail is quickly becoming a favourite of mine due to its gorgeous shell shape and coloration.  Unfortunately, I’ve only seen them sleeping so this species will be on my wish-list to see slithering around showing its full body and head.

Common semi-slug (Parmacochlea sp.) either furca or balios, Macgillivray’s Treesnail (Rhynchotrochus macgillivrayi), Atherton Tableland Bicoloured Snail (Hadra webbi),  Pampin’s Beehive Snail (Coneuplecta pampini).

Atherton Tableland Bicoloured Snail (Hadra webbi)

These are probably the biggest Snails that we find on Let’s Go Buggin Tours in the Cairns Botanic Gardens.  We also tend to see a lot of discarded shells on the ground. It seems they are a tasty morsel to a rainforest inhabitant.  Occasionally though we will see them slithering on the ground. Their impressive size can reach almost 10cm in length.  As their name suggests they are endemic to the Wet Tropics of Queensland region.

Pampin’s Beehive Snail (Coneuplecta pampini)

A very tiny snail that will often go completely un-seen, because of their size.  They are delightful but extremely fragile. Their shells are usually two-toned spirals with spots of beige, gold and brown.  This species is found along the Queensland East coast all the way from the tip of the Cape to the Gold Coast.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of our snails and slugs and I hope that you have a newfound appreciation of these slippery little suckers.  If you would like to take a deeper dive into some of the other Gastropods I’ve observed, head to my Gastropod filtered feed on iNaturalist.

Many thanks to Michael Shea, Matthew Connors, Kevin Bonham for the assistance with Identifications.

Would you like to see some of these amazing Snails and Slugs firsthand in the Cairns Botanic Gardens on a Let’s Go Buggin Tour?  Use ‘blog’ as the coupon code for 15% discount on your tour booking.

Next Blog in late April.

🐌 🧡 🐌


Bridgette uses a variety of Olympus OM SYSTEM Cameras and Lenses