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Time to get your hands on a slug

Hands up who knows what malacology is? Think slugs and snails but not puppy dogs' tails. Or, if you're a foodie, oysters and escargots. Malacology is the study of molluscs: invertebrates with soft bodies and (usually) hard shells.

The Malacological Society of London - more than 100 years old and still not a household name - would like more attention paid to these squelchy treasures.

It is offering up to three prizes of pound;200 to schools for completed practical projects that focus on molluscs. Projects suggested vary from the saucy ("how do snails mate?") to the trance-inducing ("can slugs detect lettuce or do they just stumble upon it?").

Application forms from Professor G Dussart, Canterbury Christ Church university, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1QU gbd1@cant.ac.uk. Reports should be submitted to Professor Dussart by March 1 next year, so slugs need activating now.

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