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Main Project Information
Presented By Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Goal Better understand the biodiversity of land snails/slugs in SoCal
Task Find snails/slugs in SoCal, take photos of them, share with us!

Snails and slugs Living in Metropolitan Environments (SLIME) is a citizen science project that aims to catalogue the biodiversity of terrestrial gastropods (land snails and slugs) in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

The Natural History Museum’s collection of land snails includes thousands of specimens from locations throughout the Los Angeles basin and spans the last 100 years. However, not much is known about this mollusk biodiversity today, especially within the cities of Southern California. That’s where citizen scientists come in!

We’d like you to help us complete the first citizen science snail survey focusing on urban Southern California by finding snails and slugs and, either
1) collecting them and bringing them to the Museum or,
2) taking photos and emailing them to us or uploading them to the SLIME iNaturalist page.

With this information we hope to identify the species that call the urban areas of Southern California home, those that are new to the area, and those that haven’t been able to survive the changes that urbanization has made to their homeland.

How to Join

How to Participate

Step 1: Find snails and slugs
From a walk around your block, backyard garden, local library or school, to a hike in a local park, look for snails and slugs in damp areas under bushes, among wood pieces in wood piles, between and under rocks or bricks, on tree bark, on plants, among leaves, and along wet sidewalks.

Step 2: Collect them in a container
Place one snail/slug in a small container (like a yogurt cup or small butter tub) along with a piece of damp paper towel. Poke holes in the container to give the snail or slug some fresh air. One animal per container is best.

Step 3: Write a label for each container
Make a label for the container with the date, location where you found the animal (be as specific as you can be), and your name and stick it onto the container.

Step 4: Drop your specimen(s) off at the NHM
Give your collected specimens to Guest Relations at the South entrance of the Museum. They will contact Malacology for a staff member to pick them up.

Alternatively, you can take a focused picture of the snails and slugs you find and upload them to the SLIME iNaturalist page:

What happens next?
Each snail/slug you found will be identified, recorded in a database, and added to the Museum’s permanent collection with you listed as the collector. Your efforts will help us determine the distribution of snail species in greater Los Angeles, identify introduced species, determine which species are common versus rare, and much more!

Social Media
Required Gear

If collecting snails/slugs:
small plastic container, paper towel, water, scissors or knife

If taking photos of snails/slugs:
camera, access to the Internet

Special Skills You do not need to be able to ID snails or slugs. We can help you with that.
Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity On a hike, At home, At the beach, On a walk, run, At school, At a science center, zoo or aquarium
Class Materials
Tags biodiversity, california, LA, los angeles, natural history museum of los angeles county, Nature & Outdoors, NHM, outdoors, slime, slug, slugs, snail, snails, socal, southern california
Project Updated 05/23/2018