BiodiverseCity St. Louis

BiodiverseCity St. Louis is a growing network of organizations and individuals throughout the greater St. Louis region who share a stake in improving quality of life for all through actions that welcome nature into our urban, suburban and rural communities. Learn more about this effort, and join in.

Take Action Today…and Make It Count

Throughout St. Louis, every day, people are making big and small changes to their backyards, balconies, streetscapes, schoolyards, parking lots, and play areas. Some are doing this because they love nature and want to experience more of it in their daily lives. Others recognize that native plants in the right places help prevent flooding, clean and cool our air and improve human health and well-being. Still others embrace the positive impact that leafy streets, accessible parks, hiking/biking trails and other quality green spaces have on property values and the economic vibrancy of our region.

For all these reasons and more, the BiodiverseCitySTL Network invites each of the 2.9 million citizens of the greater St. Louis bi-state region to take action. In this spirit, we are excited to launch the Nature in Our Neighborhoods citizen action project. No matter who you are or where you live, all of us can do something to beautify, bio-diversify and better the communities in which we live, work, learn and play. To get started, check out our curated list of expert ideas and local resources from across our region, connect with others and share your stories.


Species Spotlight

Toothed Globe SnailToothed globe snail (Mesodon zaletus). Photo:
Toothed globe snail (Mesodon zaletus)
If you’re like us, you seek out shady, cool-mist wooded areas during St. Louis summers. The next time you find yourself in such a spot, slow down and get low. In the damp, hidden nooks of rotting logs, mossy rocks, leaf litter, marshes, and caves live an amazing diversity of under-celebrated, understudied life forms—the land snails. Better yet, bring a little person along with you, as they are snail-spotting masters.

Yes, we know snails can be considered pesky, especially to farmers and gardeners. And echoing an all-to-common narrative, invasive species can out-compete native species for food and resources. For these reasons and more, these tiny gastropods are worth knowing better. In Missouri and Illinois alone, more than 130 species of land snails are currently known, with more than 70 percent occupying wooded habitats. The vast majority of these go undetected, being less than ¼-inch in shell width. But a few species (like our featured toothed globe, M. zaletus) grow to an inch in width.

Ecologically, land snails play a critical role in ecosystem functionality, assimilating nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and potassium as they collectively consume massive amounts of decaying plant material and fungi. As a favorite food of insects, lizards, snakes, salamanders, toads, frogs, crabs, birds and a host of mammals, land snails pass these nutrients along further up the food chain. Many species of birds, especially during egg-laying season, rely on snails for the extra calcium they provide. To ecologists, land snails are serving as bio-indicators, helping us understand effects of pollution and global climate change. To be sure, much remains to be learned about land snails and what the study of them could reveal about our world.

Fun fact: Land snails and slugs are members of the class Gastropoda, meaning “stomach- foot,” because they move upon a large, muscular ventral surface called a foot. As members of the phylum Mollusca (including clams, mussels, octopuses and the like), land snails evolved from aquatic ancestors.

To do: Go snailing. It’s a new word we made up—simply meaning honing your snail ID skills while hiking. We think it’s going to be a thing.


Featured Partner Programs

Milkweeds for Monarchs logo   Bring Conservation Home logo   Operation Clean Stream logo   Show Me Rain Gardens logo