Book Review: "The Biology of Terrestrial Molluscs"


"The Biology of Terrestrial Molluscs"
Barker, G.M. (Ed.), Cabi Publishing, Wallingford, Oxon, Britain, 2001.

(A five-star book at a five-star price...)


"The Biology of Terrestrial Molluscs" presents a collection of international authors' articles on the subject of terrestrial molluscs' biology. The only terrestrial molluscs belonging to the snails, this book exclusively deals with those, focusing especially on the Stylommatophora (terrestrial pulmonates), by far the largest group of terrestrial snails.

The editor's article in the beginning of the book, by G.M. Barker, on the phylogenetic classification of terrestrial molluscs, puts the terrestrial snails in place among the gastropods. Different authors' results concerning the phylogeny of gastropods are introduced. That makes the article to a long expected contribution to snail systematics.

The large relevance of the authors' research results and the overview over various aspects of snail biology surely make this book a recommendable reading for scientists as well as advanced students. The very high price, (69,30 resp. 87,56 US$ on April 10th, 2008), however, limits the reader's enthusiasm.

It is regrettable, that the chapter on "Food and Feeding Behaviour" without exception deals with herbivorous snails, though carnivorous snails' behaviour also is very interesting. However this is understandable, as the book comes from agrobiological origins. In the meantime, though, another book edited by G.M. Barker has been published: "Natural Enemies of Terrestrial Molluscs", among the many snail-eating animal groups also extensively dealing with predatory snails.

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