09 May 2011

Tide is in, Melampus is out

The snail Melampus coffeus* lives near the sea and once a year enters its ancestral home to spawn. But at other times, when the sea comes to it, Melampus escapes the waters.


I photographed these snails at a beach in Florida last month. The tide was coming in and the snails had climbed on the mangrove trunks or on the branches of young shoots.


But why do these snails not like being in water? Are they escaping from potential predators that come with the water, such as crabs and fish? Are they coming out to continue to breathe air? Is there another reason?


*Still a tentative identification.

11 comments:

Déjame un Poema said...

Maravillosas imágenes, fue un placer visitarte.
besitos para ti, que Dios te bendiga.

humaira said...

such as poisonous snail?

Anonymous said...

maybe it doesn't like the salt, and maybe when it is time to breed, the snail has some sort of once-yearly physiological change that allows it to tolerate higher levels of salt
--leptotila

JK said...

I had once placed a living Pythia scarabaeus (an Ellobid)in freshwater after a field day in a coastal forest, thinking of cleaning it.

Then, I noticed the animal's not dead and was slithering out of the water!

I had little idea about the biology of Ellobids but that observation gave me an impression that these snails are hydrophobic.

Martin Moerch said...

Very beautiful pictures I must say. Nice work!

Adorably Dead said...

They look like they're wearing nut halves for shells lol!

Kimf said...

Beautiful pictures of the snails and interesting question you pose. While only an amateur, my guess is that post that they leave the water to breed may be a good one

M. J. Mestas said...

nice pictures man!

Patty Fudge said...

Having studied zoology I could help you identify every one of your species but I prefer to say swear words on my site that no one visits, ever. Is there anyone on the Blogger who isn't selling something, by the way?

Phil said...

Subclass of gastropods, Pulmonata, that have evolved a highly vascularized mantle cavity and utilize it like an alveolus in a lung. As this suggests, they lack gills. Basically, they are "air breathers", not "water breathers". This critter looks like it is in the family Melampidae.

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

Family Ellobiidae, subfamily Melampinae.