my name is Robert Nordsieck, I am the author of the present homepage.
In the year 2000, after having finished my studies at Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg im Breisgau, I began working at a homepage on molluscs. Since childhood days I had been interested in snails, certainly under the influence of my father, who works as a scientist on door snails. Today I am lucky to possess many snail books, some of which I bought when I was still attending school. My first little snail book I got in seventh grade (in Germany the grades are counted from the very first to the very last, at that time the thirteenth) was "Schnecken und Muscheln" (snails and mussels) by Lothar Forcart, published by Hallwag editions. Today, this book is as out pf print, as are "Landschnecken Nord- und Mitteleuropas" by Kerney, Cameron and Jungbluth (based on the English "A Field Guide to the Land Snails of Britain and Northern Europe" of 1979) and the fine Field Guide "Naturführer Weichtiere" (Molluscs) by Fechter and Falkner.
Today it would be much more difficult to buy a book on snails, than it was in my youth: All those books in German are out of print, and as they are rather rare, they are also difficult to find in second hand book shops. Snail books to find today are usually limited to horticultural and culinary literature. It is easier to find books on sea molluscs, as they can be found in the diving section: Divers do well to inform themselves about cone shells and blue ringed octopuses!
A wee little snail on a wee little patch of green. [RN]
This gap was supposed to be closed by my homepage. Soon I was happy to discover that not only school students and teachers were interested in my homepage, but also university professors, as well as interested laymen, who liked to frequently return to the homepage. Many requests encouraged me to focus on the subject of terrestrial snails, which is now certainly as the most important one on the homepage. On one hand there was the demand for identification pages on domestic gastropods, on the other hand also pages on snails from far away, as (for us) the Pacific Partula tree snails: A chapter on the deplorable ecological effects of thoughtlessness and ignorance. This page has been written on the request of a visitor.
Seven years ago I moved to Vienna, so today the homepage is on an Austrian server. To live in Vienna for a German (in Austrian referred to as "piefke") is about like to live as legal alien as an "Englishman in New York", to place it with Sting's words. But apart from that Vienna is a fascinating city with one of the most famous Natural History Museums in the World (Wiener Naturhistorisches Museum). Aside from the exhibition rooms, which I would recommend to any visitor to Vienna interested in nature, there is also a fabulous mollusc department the library of which I was allowed to use.
And so I was taught the basics of Austrian dialect, at first earned shillings, then euros, in a castle hotel, where I worked for six years, until I changed to a famous American coffee shop company, which in Vienna is present with eleven stores.
Snail identification during GEO Ecological Diversity Day 2007.
In the meantime I had the honour to help with a movie on snails on the German channel Pro7, took part in several Ecological Diversity Days in Lower Austria, sponsored by the GEO magazine, which I was also contacted for over the homepage, as well as for my scientific attendance of seminars on snail cultivation.
One sometimes may get wet during snail ex-
The homepage "The Living World of Molluscs" in English has been merged with the German mother page and in June 2011 received its own domain: http://www.molluscs.at.
Up to today weichtiere.at has been cited and referred to by many homepages all over the world, which to me is a great honour and a delight. Pictures from weichtiere.at have made it to exhibitions in Paris and Montreal!
There is no end to be seen and there are many possibilities for expansion: The Molluscs with their 54,000 species make the second largest animal phylum in the world, not mentioning the fossil species like ammonites and endocerates!
The starting picture of the exhibition "Snails
and clams of the Vienna woods" in Lainz animal
park (Vienna) 2011.
Since in this year weichtiere.at, previously weichtiere.de, celebrates its 10th anniversary, so it is time for a little (re)count: weichtiere.at contains exactly 900 pages (not counting pictures) in two languages. On google the site leads on many topics. That, I assume, is something to look back on. Many thanks again, at this point, for the manifold support from all parts of the world!
Most interestingly, there always remains something to be described and to be told. The last subject to be worked out were the sea-living opisthobranch snails and slugs (Opisthobranchia). Before, a very generous donation of Austrian pictures had made possible the expansion of the section on freshwater snails.
In October 2009, Micaela Brugsch and myself were interviewed by the German radio channel Deutschlandfunk for the broadcast "They like what creeps and crawls" ("Sie lieben, was kriecht und krabbelt") (broadcast in December, 2009).
The most recent project I took part in was the exhibition "Snails and clams of the Vienna woods", which since April 30th, 2011 (until September) will be open in the Lainz animal park visitors' centre in Vienna. The exhibition shows snails and clams of the Vienna and Vienna woods area, with special tables on Roman snails and banded snails, but also snails of different habitats (woods and hedges), as well as snails in the garden and coping with them in an ecologically compatible way.
Also to be expected will be the publication of the book "Einheimische Landschnecken im Terrarium" (European terrestrial snails in the terrarium) by Robert Nordsieck and Micaela Brugsch in the Natur-und-Tier publishing house, Münster. As of today, the book is currently in layout, so a publication may be expected this year.
So I would be happy for you to come by again soon, or possibly we will meet in the forum on petsnails.co.uk?
Yours, Robert Nordsieck.