21 November 2010

Snail dissection in progress

Last night I started dissecting a snail that we had collected in Turkey in 2004. Here is the snail in its shell.


The specimen had, of course, been preserved in alcohol. The next picture shows the dissected snail. Next to it are the lower genitalia that I removed from inside the foot. I am always impressed by the size of the genitalia relative to the overall size of these snails.


Here is a closer look at the genitalia. I have labeled some of the organs. Keep in mind that this is a hermaphrodite: it has both a penis and a vagina.


This snail is in one of those speciose hygromiid genera in which the snails' shells are quite similar to each other and the differentiations of species depend primarily on the relative lengths of various parts of the genitalia, such as the ratio of the length of the penis to that of the epiphallus or the ratio of the length of the flagellum at the tip of the epiphallus to that of some other part.

I still haven't worked out the identity of this specimen. I am thinking of cutting open the penia next.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice dissection and good photo. As far as I can see from the photo, this looks as if it is one of the hygromiids that doesn't have a dart and a dart sac? I know that a certain number of species within this rather huge family do have love darts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_dart

Susan J. Hewitt

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

You are correct, Susan. This genus doesn't have darts.

restoration_rake said...

"I am always impressed by the size of the genitalia relative to the overall size of these snails...I still haven't worked out the identity of this specimen." Aydin, if this weren't such a high-minded, scientific blog, I'd leave a comment here about these snails obviously being related to me, but I won't.

And for the record, I don't have love darts either...