are an exceptionally large group of extremely diverse animals which have no backbone
. In most but not all cases they have a shell
; they are commonly known as snails
. They live in the oceans, on land and in freshwater. This taxonomic class
animals with the scientific name Gastropoda
is the largest and most successful class within the mollusks
, having 60,000–75,000 named living species
and being second only to the insects
both in terms of diversity and in terms of the number of named species within one class of animals. Living species range in size from adult animals that are less than one millimeter (0.039 in) in length, to a few species that are almost a meter (39.4 in) in length.
Scientists who study gastropods (or other mollusks) are known as malacologists. 2,400 years ago, Aristotle, in his History of Animals, wrote about the sea snails from which the dye Tyrian purple is extracted; the genus Murex still bears the name he used. Many gastropods are important food sources, others have human relevance in other ways, ranging from their shells being used as a source of mother of pearl through to their being vectors for several diseases.
Aquamarine or sea green is used on this portal because gastropods first evolved in the oceans, colonized both land and freshwater habitats, and need the presence of water or water vapor in order to be active. The image which is currently the icon for the gastropod portal shows an individual of Helix pomatia, an air-breathing land snail which is well known to gourmets in the Western world because it is one of the European species that is eaten as escargot.
Strombus canarium, commonly known as the dog conch, is a species of edible sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Strombidae, the true conchs. An Indo-Pacific species, S. canarium lives on mud and sandy bottoms, grazing on algae and detritus. The shell of adult individuals is colored light yellowish-brown to golden to gray. It has a characteristic inflated body whorl, a flared and thick outer lip, and a shallow stromboid notch. Although it is considered to have value as an ornament, because the shell is heavy and compact it is also often used as sinker for fishing nets.
The external anatomy of the soft parts of this species is similar to that of other strombid snails; the animal has an elongate snout, thin eyestalks with well-developed eyes and sensory tentacles, and a narrow, strong foot with a sickle-shaped operculum attached. Among the predators of this snail are carnivorous gastropods such as cone snails and volutes, as well as humans, who consume the soft parts in a wide variety of dishes.
The dog conch is an economically important species in the Indo-West Pacific, and several studies indicate that it may be currently suffering population declines due to overfishing and overexploitation. Malacologists and ecologists have recommended the reduction of the current exploitation rates; recent initiatives in Thailand are attempting to ensure the reproduction of younger individuals, as well as managing the natural populations in general. (Read more...)
... that the land snails of the genus Abbottella (Abbottella calliotropis shell pictured) live on Hispaniola and on Cuba?
... that the snail Tonna galea (pictured) is one of very few species of prosobranch gastropods that are luminescent?
... that the land snail Notodiscus hookeri (shell pictured) has unique shell structure among all gastropods?
... that the microscopic cave snail Zospeum tholussum (pictured) is so slow that in a week's time it may only move a few millimeters or centimeters in circles?
... that the land snail Omalonyx convexus (pictured) can also be found submerged among macrophytes?
... that the malacologist S. Peter Dance said the shell of Pterynotus loebbeckei, (pictured), was the "most exquisite natural object" he had ever seen?
... that the only brackish-water pachychilid species, Faunus ater (shell pictured), has a shell that is unique among all the Cerithioidea?
... that the owl limpet (pictured) maintains a small meadow of algal turf for its own exclusive use?
- 16 July 2010: A new subfamily is established within the Chondrinidae.
- A list of new Wikipedia articles about gastropods, including those that simply mention the words snail, slug, conch, etc. A bot creates this list, usually every three days.
The sea hare Aplysia californica releases a cloud of ink as a defensive mechanism when it is threatened. This species lives in California and the northern part of the Pacific coast of Mexico.
The California sea hare can sometimes grow to be as large as 75 cm in length, measured when actively crawling. It is a herbivore, and feeds mostly on red algae. This species has become a valuable laboratory animal for the study of neurobiology.
- Gastropoda, snail, slug, land snail, freshwater snail, sea snail, sea slug
- Gastropod shell, operculum, radula, love dart, clausilium
- Digestive system of gastropods, respiratory system of gastropods, circulatory system of gastropods, excretory system of gastropods, sensory organs of gastropods, nervous system of gastropods, reproductive system of gastropods
- Taxonomy of the Gastropoda (Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005), and also, changes in the taxonomy of gastropods since 2005
- Gastropods with significant positive human impact
- Gastropods with significant negative human impact
Categories about gastropods:
Request to editors: please do not create any more categories of gastropods by country. Instead create list articles, article with a list of the marine or non-marine gastropods of whichever country or area you are interested in. We would also like to empty and delete the two remaining country categories we have, adding that information to list articles instead. Thank you.