Friday, 24 June 2016

Angaria

Image: Shellnut
Here come those snails again, showing us once more that you don't need to live fast to leave a good-looking corpse.

Image: Shellnut
A. sphaerula
Angaria is a genus containing about 15 species of snails found in the Indo-Pacific region, Australia and New Zealand.

Image: H. Zell
A. poppei
Their shells are only about an inch or two across but they fill that space with enough spikes, jagged edges and colours to do even the most bedazzling World of Warcraft character proud. There's a lot of variability even within a single species. Snails like to express their individuality.

Image: H. Zell
A. delphinus
By the way, I've no idea why they're called Angaria.

Image: Shellnut
A. melanacantha
Angaria was the name of a Roman postal system where couriers on horseback were stationed along those famous Roman roads. It was their job - nay, their duty, by law - to make sure those royal letters got to their destination come rain or shine, night or day.

All that huffing and puffing and horsing and coursing... Doesn't exactly scream 'snail' now, does it?

Image: Shellnut
A. sphaerula
The system was invented by the Persians in the 6th Century BC and later adopted by the Romans. The word itself comes from the Greek version of the Babylonian word for those old, Persian couriers. All of which rather makes those empires seem like mighty couriers on the Road of Time.

Image: H. Zell
A. melanacantha
And the baton of angaria keeps travelling. The word came to refer to any compulsory service demanded by a government, lord or church and even today we have something only slightly different. It's called angary, and in international law it refers to the right of a belligerent state to seize, use or destroy a neutral state's stuff during war.

So maybe that's it? Just look at those shells. These guys aren't just angary, they're furious!

7 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

alien snails.

Tim said...

Look out those snails will pop your eye out. One of them even has the right name "A. poppei". Does spinach grow in the ocean?

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

@TexWisGirl: Yup!

@Tim: Haha! I hope not. We definitely don't want these guys getting muscular and jumping at our eyes!

Susan A. said...

I was taken aback by that second photo with the ?operculum - makes the whole thing into a dark inhuman eye staring blandly out at us with a spike-rimmed tenderness... eeeeeek

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

Yikes! I didn't notice that!

Porakiya Draekojin said...

darn it, someone already commented aobut that second picture. I was aobut it say it looked like a new kind of zerg from star craft or some kinda of genetic experiment or alien centipede walking on the ceiling, lunging at you with a giant mouth agape for the kill.




I think it's been awhile since I've last indulged my imagination XD

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

Aaaaargh! That centipede one... I think I prefer the eye!

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