Life stories : Death of a 'snailsman' ends long life of study

It's what one reporter described as a "monster mollusk."

Yet the giant, menacing invader didn't crash-land on Earth from outer space. Nor was it chiseled from the Antarctic ice by well-meaning scientists as any circa-1950s B horror film worth its admission price would have moviegoers believe.
Achatina, a genus of giant African land snail, was the life's study of Albert R. Mead. For more than 60 years, he was the world's leading authority on the exotic and destructive creature.
Though Mead, a professor at the University of Arizona for half a century, took his work — in the field and in the classroom — seriously, he had a sense of humor about it, referring to himself as a "traveling snailsman."

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