23 July 2007

Hairy snail from Antwerp

Trichia hispida

I photographed these small (6-7 mm) snails with hairy shells near the University of Antwerp's Campus Groenenborger in Belgium. I am calling them Trichia hispida; they are also known as Trochulus hispidus.

Why some snails have hairs on their shells was the subject of this post.


Anonymous said...

Mmm, a really nice close-up pic of what we used to call Hygromia hispida! What a cute thing it is under magnification!


Kevin Z said...

Hi Aydan,

I wrote a piece on Alviniconcha hessleri when I was with Deep Sea News. It is a hairy snail, family Provannidae, from deep sea hydrothermal vents and also one of my main study organisms for my PhD. It is hairy, very much like the T. hispida you describe here. From my own personal observations, I've had a pet hypothesis that it keeps fouling creatures off, mainly limpets. The shell is very thin, almost like a trade-off between shell thickness and periostracum "hairyness". It would be easy to drill through compared to other provannids there with much thicker shells. Juvenile have little hair and seemingly thicker shells, while adults are very hairy like in the pictures on the website I cite above. Senescent or very large ones, usually found in slightly more extreme microenvironments (i.e. on hydrothermal vent chimneys), seem to have most of their periostracum worn away, hence no spines.

I would love to study what these deep sea hairy snails might have in common with these terrestrial hairy snails. There might some overall environmental or biological factor that might help us understand why these structures evolve. email me if you want to discuss this further.