Tag archives for Snails
Some snails surf across the ocean! Instead of using a surfboard, they hang upside down on rafts made with the snail’s mucus. There are fewer than ten species of these snails gliding across the oceans. Scientists have discovered that these snails are descendants of bottom-dwelling snails called wentletraps that use mucus to make egg masses.
Celia Churchill, a Ph.D. student a the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, described the bubble rafts as having a consistency similar to bubble wrap. “You can pop it if you get a fresh one,” she said.
Photograph courtesy Denis Riek
Some tiny snails in Japan can survive a trip through a bird’s digestive tract. When graduate student Shinchiro Wada and his colleagues at Tohoku University fed the Tornatellides boeningi snails to captive white-eye birds and brown-eared bulbuls birds, they noticed that about 15% of the snails passed through the birds and were pooped out alive! How do the snails survive? Wada isn’t sure. The snails are very small, which may help keep their shells from cracking. Wada says that the snails have the ability to seal off their shells with a mucus film, which may help keep the birds’ digestive fluids out.
Photograph courtesy Shinichiro Wada
While we were at the Posada Amazonas lodge in the Amazon, we saw many cool creatures, from monkeys to birds to capybaras. My favorite animals to see (although it was pretty hard to choose a favorite) were the many species of insects and arachnids found on every tree, always amazing. I saw a scorpion (thank you for pointing that one out, Elliot), many spiders, some moth larvae, some centipedes, and many, many snails. Snails were in trees, on leaves, on flowers, everywhere! The mosquitoes, on the other hand, were, should I say, annoying, but because of the rain, we didn’t see too many for a few days. Speaking of creepy-crawlies, we were offered to try termites, a food source for those who have run out of supplies. I…tried some. It tasted a little weird, but if you didn’t think about it, you could eat them without difficulty.
Don’t get me wrong, the birds and mammals were spectacular as well! We saw some grey titi monkeys and we saw and HEARD some howler monkeys. The titi monkeys were adorable; I wanted to hold one! We also saw some gorgeous scarlet macaws. They were like the birds you see in movies, only better! We saw them fly by; flashes of yellow, blue, and red darted across the sky as we took the boat back to dry land. They were flying to the clay licks, where they eat the red-brown earth to help with digestion. I don’t know how that helps, but I’ll do my best to find out. The guides were amazing! They could just say, without another thought, “That’s definitely a green violetear, a type of hummingbird.” Just like that! Wow! The insects were still one of the chart toppers.
Read the whole post »
Walking on water may seem miraculous, but for tiny aquatic snails, it’s an everyday activity. Now scientists believe they know how these creatures actually move on the water’s surface.
Photo courtesy Eric Lauga
After studying videos of the snails, scientists discovered that a snail makes small rippling motions with its foot, and creates traction for itself on the water’s surface, according to Eric Lauga, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, San Diego. The researchers’ observations are detailed in the journal Physics of Fluids.