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          The Blond des Flandres



a story of selection and crossing

Any domestic species has a great number of races, well adapted to different hearts, and different uses. All have been obtained :

- by selection in a population, with a good choice of breeders, generation after generation.

- by crossing with external animals which have good traits.

It is also the case of "Blond des Flandres" snail

In France, there are two kinds of snail consumers : the first ones who like the Burgundy, and generally big snails, for a traditional use, and the other ones who prefer the Petit-Gris.

Breeders have to choose between these two types. It is not possible, today, to rear the Burgundy with a good profit. Therefore this snail is replaced by Helix aspersa maxima, the Gros-Gris, which is a cousin with the Petit-Gris, from Algeria. Unfortunately the Gros-Gris has a very dark mantle unlike the two other snails, in opposition to our habits.

So my idea is to create a snail which looks like the Burgundy but easy to rear as the Petit-Gris. That is the "Blond des Flandres"


escargot petit-gris

escargot blond des flandres

escargot gros-gris

Petit-Gris (10 g on average) Blond des Flandres (20 g on average) Gros-Gris (20 g on average)


These three snails belong to the same species Helix aspersa


Year after year, I have crossed and selected Petit-Gris, Helix aspersa aspersa, mainly for two traits: shell size and color.

In 1998, 50% of my animals had a shell diameter larger than 40 mm ( 1.57 in ), and 75% had an uniform ochre shell (unicolor). One had a shell diameter of 54 mm ( 2.12 in ), I think it is the world record for this species.

for visiting my breeding system : click here

Note: we cannot say that "Blond des Flandres" is already a breeding race. Traits are not fixed and experiments have to be conducted in commercial conditions. But I think it is in a good way !

The "Blond des Flandres" is not alone !   I know an other attempt to select a breeding strain :

the "Jaune de Gand" of Prof. André De Grisse ("Gentse Gele" in Dutch)

It is a strain of "Gros Gris", selected for 10 years, with  a yellow shell, as "Blond des Flandres".

[ M. De Grisse home page ]

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