The Evolutionary Leaps of Snails

Leaps in evolutionary development have often befuddled scientists in their goal towards discovering the answer to every last question. Though they have been extremely successful in answering those last questions, certain scientists struggle with some of the first questions: “Where did I leave my car keys?”, “Why is the ceiling above my bed different?”, and “what does love got to do, got to do with it?”

This time the folks over at the University of Tübingen in Germany dared to ask a question that lie hidden somewhere deep in between: What happens when we leave a little bit of platinum in a petri dish with a little bit of baby snails? The answer is definitely one shell off of a slug.

Snails are tiny slimey creatures. They are best recognized from their characteristic shells, strange ability to stick to anything, and the questionable ooze that they leave in their wake. The much more agile Slug, a relative in the incredibly large Gastropada family, is similar to the snail in many aspects with the main exception being it’s incredible lack of a Nautilis ShellMollusk

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Molusca
Class: Gastropada

Terrestrial gastropod mollusks are an extremely diverse grouping of animals. There is an incredible amount of different species all under the same classification. From the extremely tiny Daphniola eptalophos to the alarmingly large Giant African Land Snail (ALGALS). The ALGALS ranks in as one of Indiana’s “Most Unwanted Invasive Plant Pests.” Native Indiana-ites be wary of roaming hypnotoads!

The Giant African Land Snail is an unwanted visitor to the United States. Although it has been traded at flea markets and kept as a pet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has never issued a permit to import the snails. All of the snails in the U.S. are here illegally.

Yikes. Almost as big as those Australian Golden Silk Orb Weavers. Golden Silk Orb Weavers are strangely famous in the creative community as they are incredibly adept at being used as a segue for others who have ridden the stream of  consciousness thought wave too far.

So what about that study involving Platinum and Snails? Were they making a new marvel character or what? 

Scientists reared Marisa snails, best known for cleaning up algae and other debris in home aquariums, in petri dishes containing varying concentrations of platinum. At certain exposures, all of the roughly 80 percent of snails that survived were shell-less

So the shell finally comes off but why does this even matter? Well it just so happens that a snail with out a shell is just a slug. Just a slug-that is- that evolved in one generation. One single generation. This sort of single generation evolution has likely happened multiple times in the Gastropada family.

So you had better be careful with your salt shakers or this conversation will get a bit bubbly.


Los caracole

Other Wondergressive Nature:

Dolphins Exhibit Unending Compassion
Belly Buttons: Bacteria Wonderland!

One thought on “The Evolutionary Leaps of Snails

  1. Pingback: Colonies of Fungus Feed on Radioactivity and the Rise of Space Fungus - Wondergressive

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