They look like heroic survivors of a brutal mugging, where they got stamped on and shot in the head and the assailants got away with most of its shell which is probably now on its way to China because the Chinese economy has a high demand for snail shell building materials and that’s increasing the price which means unscrupulous bastards are mugging and stamping and shooting.
But they just happen to be really weird snails!
Elephant Snails are a kind of Keyhole Limpet, which are snails that usually have cone-shaped shells with a little hole on top for breathing out. Elephant Snails are different in that their shell just has a little notch on one end…
…a species of amber snail endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic. Its glossy ‘blushing’ shell’s color is caused by light which strikes through the snails translucent body and shell. It’s shell also has only a few whorls and grows rapidly in size.
This species is poorly researched and little is known about is biology or reproductive habits. Currently the blushing snail is listed as near threatened this is thought to be due to a mix of its small habitat and deforestation.
by Carissa Shipman, Dept. of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology, California Academy of Sciences
Did you know there are 26 different species concepts? This is just mindboggling! You may have thought the definition of a species was settled long ago, but the reality is, the concept of a species is still under intense debate. The most commonly accepted and taught definition of a species is “a population or group of populations whose members have the potential to interbreed in nature and produce viable, fertile offspring, but do not produce viable, fertile offspring with members of other such groups”.
This question is extremely relevant to my graduate project, which is looking at the diversity and relationships of nudibranch sea slugs in the familyDotidaefrom the Indo-Pacific and North Atlantic. For my project, I am describing five new species from the Indo-Pacific and another from South Africa, originally thought tobea N. Atlantic species. How do I know these are distinct from all other sea slugs ever named and described?
Well, since the specimens used in my project are no longer living, I first look at living photographs of the slugs, which will most of the time help me determine whether the species I am naming and describing is in fact completely new. In cases where it is not clear whether the individual in the living photograph is new, we compare its photo to the description of the species most similar to it…
Another Look at the Newly Discovered Hot Pink Slug form Australia
by Carrie Arnold
He’s big. He’s slimy. And he’s … neon pink?! Meet Triboniophorus aff. graeffei, a new species of 8-inch-long (20-cm-long) slug that’s found only on one Australian mountain.
Scientists already knew that a bright-pink slug lived on Mount Kaputar (map), thinking it was a variety of the red triangle slug, a species common along the east coast of Australia. But new research shows that the colorful critter is actually its own species, said Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Michael Murphy.
“Recent morphological and genetics work by a researcher working on this slug family—the Athorcophoridae—has indicated the Kaputar slugs are a unique species endemic to Mount Kaputar and the only representative of this family in inland Australia,” said Murphy, who’s been stationed on Mount Kaputar for 20 years…
Io fluvialis is now found only in southwestern Virginia and northern Tennessee. It is one of the largest North American aquatic snails, and is further protected by large spines in its shell. It feeds on algae and other debris growing on rocks in rivers. This species breeds during the spring, and lays 20 to 100 eggs on rocks and even inside mussel shells.
A decline in water quality due to pollution from industry and agriculture is the main threat to I. fluvialis. As this species only inhabits running water, damming also reduces its range significantly.
There are efforts to restore and improve the water quality of the habitat of I. fluvialis, as well as breeding them in captivity. Reintroduction programmes have been successful in reinstating this snail in several locations since the 1970s.
Cool Video of Sea Slug Dance Reveals Primitive Learning
by Stephanie Pappas
An attempt by one slug species to eat another ends in a flamboyant dance by the potential prey — and in a learning experience for the hungry predator.
A new video shows this interaction, which reveals that the predator sea slug, Pleurobranchaea californica is cleverer than previously believed. The slug, which generally eats anything it can get its mouth around, can learn to avoid nasty prey, according to new research published online in May in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
“If you’re a generalist like Pleurobranchaea, it’s highly strategic and advantageous to learn what’s good and what’s not good so you can decide whether or not to take the risk of attacking certain types of prey,” study researcher Rhanor Gillette, a physiologist at the University of Illinois, said in a statement…
… is a species of sea slug, a marine gastropodmollusk. This sea slug superficially resembles a nudibranch, yet it does not belong to that suborder of gastropods. Instead it is a member of the closely related clade Sacoglossa, the “sap-sucking” sea slugs.
Elysia ornata can grow to about 4 cm (1.6 in) in length. This species lives in tropical regions of both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Elysia pusilla feeds on the calcified green alga Halimeda and incorporates functioning chloroplasts into its body, thus it is known as a solar-powered sea slug. It is found in shallow water in tropical regions of the Indo-Pacific wherever its host species grows…
… is a large and colorful species of sea slug, a marine gastropodmollusk. The lettuce slug resembles a nudibranch, but it is not closely related to that clade of gastropods; it is a sacoglossan.
This sea slug (in common with some other sacoglossans) has algalchloroplasts (from its seaweed food sources) functioning within its tissues, providing it with sugars. This unusual phenomenon is known as kleptoplasty…
It inhabits low wave energy habitats, such as mangrove swamps, borrow pits, and mooring canals. It feeds suctorially on several species of siphonaceous green algae. he slug sequesters the chloroplasts from all of these species and uses them for photosynthesis. Elysia clarki photosynthesizes using the stored chloroplasts for up to three months without ingesting food…
… is a small-to-medium-sized species of green sea slug, a marine opisthobranchgastropodmollusc. This sea slug superficially resembles a nudibranch, yet it does not belong to that clade of gastropods. Instead it is a member of the clade Sacoglossa, the sap-sucking sea slugs.
Some members of this group use chloroplasts from the algae they eat; a phenomenon known as kleptoplasty. Elysia chlorotica is one of the “solar-powered sea slugs”, utilizing solar energy via chloroplasts from its algal food. It lives in a subcellularendosymbiotic relationship with chloroplasts of the marine heterokont alga Vaucheria litorea…
If you’ve heard of Sea Angels and Sea Butterflies, you’re no stranger to swimming gastropod mollusks. All three groups are gastropods, but unlike their kin, the benthic marine snails, these animals spend most of their time swimming in the water column. Like Sea Angels and Sea Butterflies, Sea Elephants enjoy the advantage of being translucent, and so harder to detect by predators that don’t use a camera flash.
The lettuce sea slug (Elysia crispata) has enlarged fleshy appendages that are folded over one another, with colors ranging from blue to green, with purple and red lining. The green coloring is what gives this mollusk it’s common name, resembling a head of leafy green lettuce.
The sea slug eats green algae, but not all of the algae they eat is digested. Some of the green algae gets shuttled off to make a home in those fleshy appendages (called parapodia). The algae’s chloroplasts, which convert sunlight into energy, can then live in the parapodia for up to four months, giving the slug photosynthetic energy—and their green coloring.
When plucking a snail from the beach you’d be lucky to snag a left-coiling shell.That’s because only 5% of all snails are “lefties,” new research shows. Shell enthusiasts have long marveled at the lack of sinistral (left-coiling) snails among their collections, especially when other shelled mollusks, such as clams and the now-extinct ammonites—nautiluslike creatures that sported dozens of tentacles inside spiraled shells—are just as likely to be left- as right-coiling.
Now, in the largest survey of its kind, researchers inspected more than 55,000 snail species—representing two-thirds of all gastropods—to reveal that left-coiling has arisen more than 100 times, and yet few of the species that have made the switch have been particularly successful. In the rare cases where left-coiling took off, it was almost always on land, the team reported here in a presentation last week at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Zoologists.
The researchers don’t know why sinistrality is so rare underwater, but the most likely explanation, they say, is that unlike land snails that tend to hang around where they hatch out, the microscopic young of sea snails are carried on ocean currents that make the chance of meeting and reproducing with another left-coiling nest-mate slim. Without such a meeting, the left-coiling lineage goes extinct.