|The conglomeration illustrated below was collected by David Kirsh under dead leaves near a stream at Mayo River State Park, Mayodan, Rockingham County, North Carolina during April, 2010. The snail collecting critter, which measured about 7 mm. in length, was subsequently identified as a Green Lacewing larva [Arthropoda: Insecta: Neuroptera: Chrysopidae] by Dr. Raymond J. Pupedis of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University. The land snails, which measured about 2.5-3.3 mm. in diameter, were later identified as juvenile Glyphyalinia wheatleyi (Bland, 1883) [Bright Glyph] by Dr. Harry G. Lee. Green Lacewing larva are well known "trash" collectors and are beneficial to man because of the their voracious appetite for the eggs and the soft bodies of aphids, mealy-bugs, spider mites, leafhopper nymphs, caterpillar eggs, scales, thrips, and white-flies. The lacewing larvae attack the eggs of most garden pests and, if the bodies are not to hard and fast moving, will attack the adult pest stage as well. Digital image copyright 2010 by David Kirsh.|
While it is unclear whether the lacewing larva consumed the
snails it used as armor/camouflage, these critters do deploy the
carcasses of aphid prey in a similar manner, and other insect larvae
have a palate for land snails:
Coleoptera: Drilidae. These beetle larvae are essentially obligate predators of land mollusks, the shells of which they can penetrate with their powerful mandibles. Note that Drilidae E. Olivier, 1910 [Insecta: Coleoptera, based on Drilus G.A. Olivier, 1790 TS Drilus flavescens G.A. Oliver, 1790 OD] is not homonymous with Drilliidae Olsson, 1964 [Mollusca: Neogastropoda, based on Drillia Gray, 1838 TS Drillia umbilicata Gray, 1838 OD]. See Írstan (1999), http://home.earthlink.net/~aydinslibrary/drillholes.htm, and http://snailstales.blogspot.com/2009/07/it-was-5-years-ago-today.html.
Coleoptera: Lampyridae. Firefly larvae directly overcome and consume the snails (LaBella and Lloyd, 1991; Symondson, 2003). See http://snailstales.blogspot.com/2005/06/fiery-predator-of-snails.html and http://www.flickr.com/photos/34597107@N02/3238874941.
molluscivora Rubinoff and Haines, 2005. This moth caterpillar,
only recently-discovered in Hawaii, traps its snail prey with its
silk and proceeds to consume it in the style of the firefly larva;