24 May 2009

Melongena corona attempting an escape

Melongena corona is an intertidal snail common on sandy bottoms around Tampa, Florida. Although it is primarily an aquatic species, it never appears awkward when it is outside the sea at low tide: sometimes it takes the easy way out by burying itself in the wet sand; at other times it crawls on until it reaches the water*.

Back in April when I was in Florida, I kept a couple of Melongena corona for a few days in an improvised aquarium—a large plastic container of sea water, the water in which I replaced partially once a day. Several times I observed the captive snails leaving the water by climbing up the sides of their container.

The wide yellow thing against the side of the aquarium is the snail's foot.

I don't know if they ever leave the water voluntarily in the wild. Their tendency to do so in captivity may have been caused by the less than optimum conditions they were subjected to. But it nevertheless demonstrates an intertidal snail's occasional willingness to face the challenges of life outside the water.

*This dichotomous generalization is, of course, not entirely correct. But that will be the subject of another post.

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