30 April 2008

Snail laying eggs

The reproductive behavior of the land snail Oxyloma retusa, already featured on this and this post, has become the research project of this spring. Infact, I will be presenting some results at the upcoming American Malacological Society meeting in Carbondale, Illinois at the end of June.

A few nights ago, one of the live snails I had appeared to be in death throes: it's body was swollen and bent in a peculiar way and the snail was motionless, although still alive. When I noticed that it's condition hadn't changed several minutes later, I was getting ready to drop it in alcohol. But I decided to take a look at it under the scope and that's when I noticed there was an egg sticking out of the side of its head; it was in throes of oviposition. Instead of the alcohol vial, it took the center stage on the photography table.

OxylomaOviposition

You can see the tip of the tail raised and the entire foot folded over itself; perhaps that position helps push the eggs out. It took the snail almost an hour to lay that cluster of eggs. After it was finished, it simply crawled away, leaving me in care of the eggs. Geez...


4 comments:

Megan said...

I've never really wondered what it was like to lay eggs, but the position of that snail gives a visceral sense of it...ouch.

ribread82 said...

so the moms just leave them? to hatch and fend for themselves? cause i found a snail and put it in a jar so i could release it l8ter and it hatched eggs.... i want to get rid of them but don't know where to put them or wheter to put them with there mom or not.... HELP!!!!!!!

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

Right, the snails don't look after their babies.

I would release the snail & its eggs where you found them.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is an old thread, but I came here attempting to identify some "mystery" eggs I found in our garden. I believe the mystery is now solved. I have been documenting their progress in my journal here Mystery Egg Series