Snails, or, as scientists call them, gastropods, appeared on the planet in the Cambrian period - about 540 million years ago. The ancestors of modern snails lived in warm seas along with trilobites and other bizarre creatures long before the advent of dinosaurs. Over time, the snails climbed onto land, learned to breathe air and spread throughout the planet.
Interesting about snails - description
A characteristic feature of snails is the presence of a "house", as they usually call a shell, in which the snail is hidden entirely in case of danger. The sink consists of three layers. The basis of the "house" is the middle layer, consisting of calcium carbonate. Outside the shell wall is covered with a special protein, inside - mother of pearl. Snails are born with a tiny shell, then the "house" grows as the clam grows.
An interesting fact - the well-known "horns" of the snail are eyes located on the stems. Vision in snails is weak, they are barely able to distinguish day from night. But next to the eyes on the "horns" are the olfactory receptors, and the smell of snails is excellent. Snail food is sought by smell. The teeth of the snails are located on the tongue and together form something like a grater. The number of teeth can reach up to 25 thousand, so these are the most toothy creatures on the planet.
Most snails are hermaphrodites, that is, they possess both the genitals of both the female and the male. Some snails, such as Achatina, need a partner to procreate, and after mating each snail lays eggs. Other snails (for example, ponds) do not need a partner. In Chinese caliptrai and yantin, only males are always born from eggs, which eventually change their gender to female.
Sleeping snail Achatina
An interesting fact is that in the cold season, land snails hibernate, burrowing into the ground and sealing the entrance to the sink with a special, rapidly hardening substance. Not only in winter, but also when adverse conditions occur, the snails prefer not to get nervous, but to fall asleep - in the hope of correcting the situation in the future. This approach to life allows snails to live a long life - up to 20 years.
Snail House - Sink
Snail shells, thanks to their bizarre shapes and colors, have attracted human attention since ancient times. From them necklaces and amulets were made, on the islands of Oceania for a long time they served as coins. Now shells of sea snails are a popular souvenir at sea resorts. Collecting shells is called conchiophilia.
Some snails manage to stand out against the background of their relatives with an original appearance. An interesting fact is that xenophore snails, by themselves seemingly unremarkable, decorate their shells with pieces of coral, empty shells, pebbles for the purpose of disguise.
One of the most beautiful snails - a sea snail-lantern living in Australia, is able to glow in a beautiful blue-green color, scaring off predators.
How do snails live?
The habits of snails are also diverse. Interesting about snails - snails-vermetus, for example, have completely forgotten how to crawl. They spend their whole lives attaching themselves to the seabed, forming a large colony. Vermetus is mined by releasing long, sticky threads that form a true web. Other snails - "sea angels" and "sea devils" - learned to swim excellently, their shells eventually decreased or completely disappeared. Yantins also swim excellently, using a raft of air bubbles glued together with mucus.
Predatory, poisonous snail cone
A surprisingly interesting fact is that snails are not only peaceful melancholy vegetarians, but also formidable predators. The predatory snail “oyster drill” eats other mollusks, dissolving their houses with saliva containing sulfuric acid. Sea snails cones prey on fish, worms and mollusks, using the strongest poison injected into the victim's body and instantly paralyzing it. The bite of some species of cones is fatal to humans, and the danger of these creatures further increases the beauty of their shells, which they pull to pick up.
Snails are often kept at home in aquariums as pets. Despite the “alien appearance”, these creatures have a special charm. In addition, snails are bred on special farms. The snails themselves and their caviar, which in France is called the "forest pearl", are considered an exquisite delicacy. And the mucus secreted by snails has moisturizing and healing properties and is part of cosmetics.
Snail - description and characteristics
The body of the cochlea consists of a head, a leg, an internal sac, a mantle fold. The movement of the mollusk occurs on the sole, which covers the lower part of the leg. This process is the result of muscle contractions, creating a kind of wave. To make the glide as comfortable as possible, the limb epithelium secretes a lot of mucus.
The inner bag is located inside the shell in the form of a spiral or cap. In the mantle of snails that live in water, gills are located. This body must be constantly washed by a stream of water to organize this process, the mantle is equipped with:
- the inlet siphon through which the fluid enters, the outlet siphon through which the water is removed.
Also inside the mantle are:
- renal ducts, excretory system, intestines, reproductive apparatus, lung (living on land).
In order for air to enter the respiratory system, there is a special hole. It is located on the edge of the shell or on the front of the body.
The head consists of:
- stems with eyes, tentacles (organ of touch), oral cavity.
The snail shell, like other mollusks, consists of several layers:
- The periostracum is a thin layer covering the structure from the outside. It consists of protein - conhiolin. Ostracum is a calcium carbonate middle layer wrapped in conhiolin. Hypostrakum (mother-of-pearl) - a layer located inside. It includes calcium carbonate plates coated with conhiolin.
The shell is an integral part of the body of the snail. The external skeleton of a mollusk protects it from enemies, external negative factors, and retains moisture.
The shape of the external skeleton: conical, in which all the organs of the mollusk are located asymmetrically or flat spiral. The surface is smooth or with growths. The turns in a spiral are located from left to right, but there are very rare cases when the opposite. Dimensions and colors can be varied.
Some snails have a reduced shell - this is a calcareous plate inside the mantle. Basically, these are slugs that can be found in any garden.
Representatives of gastropods are distinguished by a special organ in the oral cavity - radula. This organ performs the functions of the tongue and teeth. The radula consists of a cartilaginous plate on which there are several rows of teeth of different shapes.
Vegetarian snails have small teeth, predators are large in the shape of spikes or crimsons. The number of teeth in a snail can reach 25,000. Basically, the radula includes 120 rows, each with 100 teeth = 12,000.
Snails live in nature, which feed on animal food. Such species differ in teeth in the form of a drill. It can drill oyster shells or other hard protective shells, which helps the clam get to the meat.
Clam mucus is a composition that is very important for the snail. It consists of a complex protein (mucin) and water.
The unique properties of this substance are today widely used in cosmetology, as a rejuvenating, sunscreen, moisturizer.
Mucin regulates the processes of mineralization and the creation of shells. Slime is divided into two types:
- The first view helps the mollusk to move, moisturizing the surface. The second type is produced by a special gland, as a response to any stress and mechanical damage to the shell. The main component of such mucus are polysaccharides, mineral salts, which have regenerative, regenerating properties.
Where does the snail live in the wild?
The snail lives in all climatic conditions on all continents except Antarctica and waterless deserts. The mollusk lives in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, the Mediterranean and in the cold environment of the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea.
Snails feel great in Europe, Africa, Australia, America. It is found in Asia and Russia. The main condition for the existence of the mollusk is increased humidity, which will not allow the body of the snail to dry, otherwise the animal may die.
What does the snail eat?
Everything that a snail eats depends on its habitat. The nutrition of the mollusk is surprising in its diversity, it can be:
- soft part of fresh plants. plant remains, small relatives, worms, carrion, fish, insects, crustaceans.
Land mollusks with pleasure eat leaves, berries, fruits, vegetables, bark, grass. Young people prefer fresher food, but with age, their preferences change, and the old snail begins to feed on decayed plants.
Some species eat flies, midges, mosquitoes, carrion. A rotten tree can become a delicacy for a street snail.
Calcium is required to grind food well for the teeth of the mollusk. Its deficiency leads to the fact that the snail begins to sharpen its shell, which collapses, leaving the body without protection. This leads to dehydration and death.
Snails in the aquarium can be fed:
- fish food, aquarium plants, algae tablets, chopped vegetables.
So that the aquarium does not remain without all the vegetation, the number of mollusks is best taken under control. A moderate amount of snails is good for algae, as they eat all the rot on them and clean the aquarium. It is also recommended to grind eggshells in a coffee grinder to replenish calcium in the gastropod.
It is worth watching the pet’s nutrition; he should not be given human food. And you also need to keep newspapers away, because the snail eats them with great pleasure, but rarely survives after such a feast.
You can enable the diet:
- plantain, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin, tomatoes, bell peppers, greens, dandelions, bananas, watermelon, pears, strawberries, apples.
For land representatives, do not forget to put a bowl with clean water.
Gastropods in most cases belong to oviparous animals. The process of fertilization and egg laying depends on the habitat of the snail.
Snails with lungs living in freshwater and on land are hermaphrodites. Such mollusks have both female and male sexual characteristics. In this connection, during mating, fertilization occurs crossly.
Freshwater snails lay eggs in capsules, and land snails in dug holes. At a time, the mollusk is able to postpone up to 85 pieces. Eggs mature within 28 days and may have a different color:
- transparent, green, white, pink.
The development of this cochlea goes without stages of transformation. Having passed the set maturity period, a formed individual with a transparent shell appears, which hardens and gets its color over time.
Snails with gills are heterosexual creatures. The males are endowed with the testis and vas deferens. Female mollusks - by the ovary and oviduct.
Egg laying takes place in a special cocoon with a lid that dissolves at the time of development of the larvae. For the safety of future offspring, the outer row of eggs is not filled, this allows you to leave the predator without lunch.
The development of gastropods takes place with transformations from an egg to a larva (veliger). With the help of outgrowths with thin cilia, it moves and feeds on small particles of food of plant and protein origin. After a few days, the mollusk forms and sinks to the bottom.
There are unique types of gill snails that do not lay eggs, but go through a pregnancy cycle. The embryo is in the body of the mother until it is fully matured and only after this is born.
Snails can suffer from the following diseases:
- Broken shell, holes, cracks. In this case, the animal should receive the maximum amount of calcium, peace, high humidity and the right temperature. Lamination of the shell. This process can occur against the background of improper maintenance, stress, poor heredity. White coating on the sink. The problem arises against the backdrop of poor conditions, like an age-related change or it can be a simple scuff. Burns. They are thermal, chemical. In this case, the snail hides in the sink and hardly moves. You can alleviate the condition by increasing humidity and increasing the amount of juicy vegetables and fruits in the diet. Poisoning. Occurs due to poor nutrition. Self-nibbling. The snail begins to eat itself due to calcium deficiency, stress or heredity. Organ prolapse.
Enemies in the Wild
The gastropods are among the most invisible organisms on earth. But, despite this, the individual has enough enemies:
- sea gobies, sardine, starfish, mackerel, whales, herring, hermit crabs.
For land snails, the danger is:
- moles, blackbirds, wild boars, lizards, hedgehogs.
Freshwater mollusks should be afraid:
- trout, storks, frogs, herons.
Snails are slow and careful, which helps them protect themselves from enemies. They avoid highly illuminated areas, and stay in the thickness of the substrate.
How long does a snail live? Life span
Snails have good stress resistance, but do not live for more than 25 years. In nature, the mollusk is exposed to constant dangers that markedly shorten the life of the gastropod.
For example, grape snails can survive 20 years, but most often their life span does not exceed 8 years.
In captivity, the snail lives as long as it was measured initially. The main thing for this is to observe all the rules of detention and properly feed the pet.
Species of snails
The snail has more than 110,000 species, the habitat of 2,000 of them is the territory of Russia.
The most poisonous gastropod is a geographic cone living in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. It produces enough toxins to kill ten people. The antidote to the poison of this mollusk has not yet been found.
The poisonous snail acts on its enemies, releasing a cloud with large insulin levels, which instantly lowers the victim's blood sugar.
The smallest clam is Angustopila dominikae. Its size is 0.8 mm. For example: 4 such snails can easily fit in the eye of a needle.
The Australian trumpeter is recognized as the largest gastropod. A giant snail weighs 18 kg. She belongs to the class of predators, lives at a depth of 30 m in the coastal region of Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and eats worms.
Snails are divided by place of residence into:
- marine, land, freshwater.
There are pulmonary, branchial.
Large land snail with habitat, which is the European part of our continent. The shell of this species is 50 mm, spirally bent in 5 turns.
The length of the legs is from 35 to 52 mm, and the width is 22 mm.
The color ranges from cream to brown with a red tint. The first 3 turns along the entire diameter alternate with light and dark stripes. Small ribs are clearly visible on the outside of the sink. In the wild, the mollusk lives about 8 to 20 years.
In winter, the snail is at rest for three months, attaching its sole to the substrate, clogging the shell with special mucus. During the winter, the snail loses up to 10% of its weight.After activation, the mollusk is restored within a month and a half.
A grape snail has been bred for a long time at home. To date, special snail farms are opening in some countries.
Gastropod meat consists of:
- 15% - protein, 8% - carbohydrates, 35% - fat.
Also included is a range of essential minerals and vitamins.
The grape snail is a delicacy, and in Europe it is eaten as a complete, healthy product. It is also bred for use in cosmetology and the pharmaceutical industry.
The grape snail at home is bred in special terrariums, instead of other exotic, but not always safe animals. Hermaphrodite mollusks, therefore, for breeding enough, heterosexual individuals of puberty.
A grape snail at home eats plant foods. They can be fed vegetables, fruits. The gastropod’s appetite is good, and therefore it is necessary to ensure that it has constant food.
Contains a grape snail at home in a glass or plastic jar, a box with good ventilation and a large bottom.
You can cook a clam as follows:
- 100 pieces. gastropods, 1 liter of white wine, 2 carrots, 800 g of special snail oil, 200 g of vinegar 3%, 2 onions, thyme, salt, parsley to taste, bay leaf, 3 tbsp. flour.
Snails are poured with cold water and after boiling, boil for about 7 minutes. It is washed, dried, the sink is removed, the black tip is cut off. The finished product is poured with white wine with the same amount of water, chopped vegetables, seasonings and herbs are added. Salt in a proportion of 10 g per 1 liter. Cook for 3.5 - 4.5 hours, then leave to cool. The sinks are thoroughly washed in a weak soda solution and rinsed in running clean water.
Sauce or special clam butter: 100 grams of grated onion + 2 cloves of minced garlic + parsley + salt, ground black pepper + 800 g of softened butter. Stir well.
The sink is filled with ready-made butter and a ready-made snail, and heated in the oven before serving.
The gastropod reel refers to freshwater snails that settle in bodies of water with lush vegetation and a small current. The mollusk survives even in very polluted waters with a minimum oxygen content.
The sink is a tightly twisted spiral in several revolutions with a seam visible to the naked eye. This type of snail today is common among holders of aquariums in which the mollusk grows up to 1 cm in the wild. The size of the gastropod can reach 3.7 cm.
Color - from brick to deep red. The gastropod coil is able to move the sink down the surface of the water with the help of the air that has accumulated inside. Feeling danger, the snail releases the remaining oxygen and falls to the bottom.
- horny, horny red, Far Eastern, keeled, wrapped.
The coil cleans the aquarium well, eating rotted parts of plants and leftover food.
The gastropod garden is a great pest in the garden plots with which their owners are actively fighting. The snail eats fresh crops with pleasure and spoils young leaves, shoots, sometimes causing irreparable harm.
But there is a benefit from these mollusks. They process the remains of vegetation, acting as orderlies.
A garden snail does not have any features that distinguish it from other relatives. She lives on the ground, hiding in the shade during the day, and leaving her for food in the evening.
This mollusk is not whimsical and very often found in aquariums at home. This is the most economical snail rearing option. Garden snail does not require special care and eats everything that grows in the garden.
A mollusk called neretina is one of the most popular aquarium species of snails. Bright, colorful color is individual for each individual and does not repeat, making each gastropod exclusive. Keeping such an animal is easy.
Neretin snail grows up to 3.2 cm, has a flat oval (round) shell, decorated with various patterns with a beautiful, noticeable color. The body of the mollusk is large, dark in color.
Neretin snail is divided into four types:
- zebra - striped color, tiger - orange-black stripes, olive - similar to the name color, horned - mustache horns are typical for the head.
The mollusk was born in Africa, where it lives in all available reservoirs. Neretina is not whimsical, it easily dispenses with a certain period without feeding, eating up waste from other inhabitants of the aquarium and rot on the walls.
To prevent the mollusk from getting burned, it is recommended to keep the aquarium away from direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation and select lighting with minimal power.
At home, the snail should be periodically pampered with calcium supplements. Also in the diet you can include chopped vegetables, fish food in the form of a powder, grated shell from chicken eggs.
For a long time, the mollusk was distributed only on the African continent, but today this snail is often found as a pet.
The giant Achatina is distinguished by the largest dimensions of the shell, which can reach 20 cm and weigh up to 0.5 kg. Under the natural conditions of Russia, the mollusk does not survive; here it is kept at home in special terrariums.
Akhatinsky shell of an individual has a conical shape, twisted clockwise. The color consists of brown stripes in different shades. There are also albinos that are completely white. The mollusk feeds on plant foods. By gender, it performs the functions of male and female, that is, the African snail Achatina, which is a hermaphrodite.
Makes 6 clutches per year, each of which can bring 200 eggs. Achatina lives for about 7 years, but with proper care, this figure can grow to 10.
During the day, the African snail Achatina prefers to sleep, and stay awake at night. If you increase the humidity in the aquarium, the mollusk will become active in the daytime.
Helena mollusk - freshwater, living in the region of Southeast Asia. A gastropod does not have a very good fame, since he periodically eats his relatives. Holders of aquariums most often start this type of gastropod for the extermination of other snails.
Helena has a positive attitude to running water, but it feels good in artificial ponds, lakes and aquariums. The substrate is selected sandy or silty.
An individual feeds on live snails, carrion. The conical shell with pronounced irregularities, can reach 20 mm, yellow color with brown stripes. The body is gray-green in color. Helena snail lives a little, about two years.
Keeping a gastropod at home is easy. Water is best made tougher within pH 7-8 without adding salt. The mollusk prefers to dig in soft soil, fine gravel, sand. The offspring of a gastropod, born into the world, does the same.
At home, the gastropod eats the same small clams. Large individuals do not suffer, since the helena snail can not cope with them. The process of eating occurs with the help of a tube on which the mouth is located, it is inserted into the gastropod shell and sucks the body of the gastropod. Also, the individual eats regular fish food, krill, frozen shrimp.
Helens belong to heterosexual animals and breed well in captivity. Mating between a male and a female can last for hours, quite often other relatives join them and the created group sticks together, continuing the process. The female lays one egg, which develops very slowly.
According to aquarists, a helena snail can seriously reduce the population of other mollusks, so the number of this individual should be controlled.
Slugs are a snail without a shell, which is completely similar to its relative. Some species have a small invisible shell covered by a mantle.
Color - gray-brown, chestnut, black, red, yellow, depending on the species. Slugs live on all continents in areas where there is high humidity. The absence of their own house makes them seek refuge from the effects of the sun, winds, cold.
The mollusk is active at night, when the heat subsides and a gentle coolness sets in. A relative of the snail hibernates deep in the soil.
The slug moves with the sole, which shrinks in a wave-like fashion, for a more comfortable glide an abundant amount of mucus is released. In search of food, despite its slowness, the individual is ready to cover decent distances.
Most mollusks feed on plant foods. They eat everything:
- leaves, flowers, fruits, berries, mushrooms.
The slug also eats:
- carrion, feces, lichens.
Predators eat worms, their relatives, newborn mice, hatched chicks. The process of nutrition occurs with the help of a dotted dotted radula.
The reproduction of hermaphrodite occurs once a year, he lays up to 40 eggs. Slug for many gardeners is a pest that must be destroyed. But it is worth noting that this mollusk has the largest male genital organ among its relatives, which, after mating, it can bite off to detach from the partner. Over time, the body is restored.
A freshwater gastropod with a blunt conch up to 43 mm long and 31 mm wide, curled in several turns. The color depends on the habitat and can be: greenish, brown, red, brown.
Gastropod lives in all regions of Europe, except the northern regions.
A large sea snail with a shell reaching 24 cm diagonally and 17 cm vertically. Color - light brown. The surface is embossed or smooth.
The mollusk belongs to predators and paralyzes its prey with poisonous saliva. It lives only in the northern oceans with cool water.
Aquarium snail that requires special conditions of detention. This mollusk loves to eat a lot, and when there is a lack of food, it begins to spoil the plants. The size of the gastropod reaches 15.5 cm.
To maintain the mollusk, it is necessary to organize air space above the water in the aquarium. This will help the snail to breathe fully. The mollusk can periodically crawl out of the aquarium, so it is better to close it, because without water it will die. Under normal conditions, ampoule is able to live up to 4.5 years.
Snail Fiza within 2 centimeters in size is popular among experienced aquarists. The special shape of the shell helps the mollusk to hide in the most secluded places.
The gastropod feeds on live algae. The presence of lungs allows the physicist to exist without water. It is recommended to control the abundance of this species of snail, as it multiplies very quickly.
Clam is a good cleaner for aquarium from plaque and bacterial films on the walls. Hard water will be used with a temperature not lower than 21 degrees.
Tilomelania is a bright clam that will decorate any aquarium. It requires special care, since the snail eats a lot and does not get along well with its other relatives. The length of the gastropod reaches 13 cm.
The color of the shell can be of any color, the surface can be smooth or with spikes. Clam water is best made soft with high acidity.
The snail should be fed three times a day. She is not picky in food, loves a large amount of light, requires a lot of space.
Clam Melania is an aquarium snail that multiplies quickly and instantly cleans the aquarium of waste. The gastropod feels comfortable in water with a temperature of 17 to 29 ° C. Color - gray-green. Shell conical shape. Melania is omnivorous.
Useful properties of a snail
The snail is not just a resident of the aquarium or a pest in the garden, the mollusk has a lot of useful properties that people have learned to use as efficiently as possible.
- Snail meat is very healthy and in many countries it is cooked as a regular dish. The mucus mucus is characterized by a large number of biologically active substances: elastin, amino acids, collagen, vitamins, natural antibiotics, allantoin. The protein content in mollusk meat is one and a half times higher than in chicken egg. Snail meat is recommended for diet. Clam does not cause allergies. In ancient times, snails were actively used for therapeutic purposes. In modern medicine, mucus mucus is used to treat silicosis, bronchitis, whooping cough. Since a special composition has the ability to glue cells with bacteria. Our grandmothers planted a snail on a piece of lump sugar and waited for it to be covered with mucus, after which they gave it to the patient to eat it. The content of mucus in the snail allows it to independently restore the shell. In cosmetology, ordinary mucus has become the basis for many anti-aging, regenerating, antioxidant agents. Snails also make effective masks. On the basis of mucus, drugs are produced to combat stretch marks, acne, scars, warts, age spots.
Interesting facts about snails
A snail is a unique creature that is the oldest living creature on earth. Therefore, there are a lot of interesting facts in the life of this mollusk:
- To a frequently asked question, a snail is an insect or not, there is one correct answer - this is an invertebrate, soft-bodied animal. The whole body of the cochlea is covered with a strong muscle, which contracts, and thereby organizes the movement of the mollusk. The individual very easily adapts to different climatic conditions and simply changes the continents. There is an opinion of scientists that snails have an intelligence that a person does not suspect. The mollusk brain has four sections, which indicates its ability to think. In the wild, snails live in small groups. The mollusk grinds food, but does not chew. The snail drinks with its mouth and external integuments. The gastropod’s vision is poor, but the sense of smell is perfect. The Burgundy snail, who lives in France, spends most of her life in hibernation, but when it starts to rain warmly, she emits melodious singing. The mollusk can become a carrier of parasites. The snail is very powerful, it is able to carry ten times the weight of its own. The color of the sink depends on the nutrition and soil composition. Some time ago, scientists began to use the mollusk as a nerve cell donor for the treatment of brain diseases.
An ordinary snail can bring many benefits, the main thing to know about its unique abilities.