Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Snorkeling snails

snail snorkels

Images of snorkels (arrows) found on Asian Alycaeus snails from Science News.

Scientists have been wondering why Asian Alycaeidae snails have a snorkel that was seemingly functionless. While other snails that live on land have a similar tube with an opening that allows them to breathe while inside the shell, the end of the breathing tube (i.e. snorkel) on the Asian snails appeared to be sealed.

A new study published in Biology Letters shows that the tube of Alycaeus conformis is not sealed after all. They used electron microscopy to examine the snorkel and found around 50 microscopic air channels in the tube with very small slits open to the external air. The researchers think that the tiny slits might prevent parasite infections or help prevent water loss.

Source:

Pall-Gergely B, Naggs F, Asami T. Novel shell device for gas exchange in an operculate land snail. Biology Letters. 12(7): 20160151, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2016.0151

Science News

Categories: Comparative Physiology

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s