Dotted throughout Newborough Forest are ponds and dune slacks. Amongst other things, these provide a habitat for the Great Pond Snail – Lymnaea stagnalis. These snails are widespread in England, but much less common in Wales, except for Anglesey which has plenty of them.
These snails can grow up to about 7cm long and they have a much more pointy shell than our regular land snails. They feed on plant matter and general detritus, and so help to keep ponds clean.
Scientists use Lymnaea stagnalis in the study of neurology – apparently they have a very pretty and compact nervous system, ideal for research. They’ve even been used to make biological silicon chips. The snails are probably not proud of either of these achievements!
Scholarpedia has an interesting article on the use of the snails in science, and generally interesting and in depth stuff on how a snail works