For most of us, the snails are simply not of interest. These slippery creatures on one side are unpleasant, and on the other – harmless. It’s hard to find anything interesting in a lump of mucus that slowly moves with the house on itself. This is the French preparing snails for food, knowing them to sense.
But among the snails there are some unusual varieties. Their talents are so unique that some tricks are even attempted by engineers.
It turns out that the gastropods have very curious skills. They do not just sit still, waiting indifferently for their fate. Some such mollusks are very active life – they jump, travel, attack. We will talk about the most unusual representatives of this class.
Yellow-brown representatives of the clusterwink species can be found in Australia. When surroundings change or other sounds are heard, this snail starts blinking with a blue-green color. It is difficult to say the purpose of such an alarm. Perhaps, the snail tries to scare off the enemy, or maybe wants to attract the attention of several opponents at once, so that they pay attention to each other. Some scientists believe that this way snails communicate with each other. But science does not know the exact answer. It is clear only that the shell of the house dissipates the light better than any artificial material. The Clusterwink has a light-emitting organ, and the diffusion effect is so strong that the whole shell begins to glow. Its crystal structure transforms a ray of light into a real lamp. In the film industry, diffusers are used in this way to disperse light and get rid of shadows. Science is looking for a way to repeat this effect, which would help create extremely effective lampshades. Scaly-legged iron snail.
The very name of the scaly mollusk already speaks of its uniqueness. But this incredible being also lives in an extremely strong, iron shell. This is a unique event for nature. There is such a snail at a depth of 2400 meters below the surface of the ocean, next to the hydrothermal springs. Heavy metals that are present in the vicinity, the mollusc absorbs. As a result, a three-layer shell is formed, which can withstand incredible pressure. Its upper layer is made of iron sulphide. Medium is a spongy shock absorber. The natural enemy of these snails are crabs. And because of its shell shellfish can not just resist the attacker, but even damage him, dulling his claws. It remains for the military to understand how to create such an armor for a man. Blind transparent snail.
Croatia has one of the longest cave systems in the world. However, most of it is not investigated at all. Not so long ago, scientists found a new snail at a depth of a thousand meters under the ground. She has no vision, and there is no color pigment in the flesh and shell. All this is not necessary for a dungeon dweller, where light does not penetrate. And such snails move incredibly slowly even compared to their own and not so fast brothers – just a few centimeters a week. In fact, they just travel around in circles on lichens and fungi. However, the researchers believe that these snails can move with the help of other underground inhabitants or water.
Snails do not escape predators, because they are so slow. Molluscs can not escape from pursuers. Their only choice is to hide in a house and wait for their fate. The inhabitant of the Great Barrier Reef behaves quite differently. When this snail with a hammered shell is in danger, it can jump to the height of its own growth, that is, up to two centimeters in height and up to four centimeters in length. The natural enemy of a jumping snail is a toxic snail-cone. But when the “horse” feels the poison in the vicinity, she prefers not to wait for the poison dart to touch, but to jump aside.
Purple snail with bubbles.
This species also lives in the depths of the salty ocean. Like other brothers, the violet snail has a single problem – slow movement. This transport task, she decides in an original way, creating a raft a kind of raft of bubbles. The snail spits out bubbles and sits on them in an inverted position. So mollusks can move with the help of waves. For water aeronauts, bubbles are not just transport, but also a device for storing eggs. Slime gradually hardens to the condition of the bubble film. It can travel and young snails, until they create their own raft.
The bird attack for most snails is a disaster. But for some Japanese shellfish, the white-eyed attack is even beneficial. After the birds swallow them, some snails manage to survive. This experience experiences about 15% of snails. But getting into the intestine of the bird allows the mollusks to travel. Surviving specimens fall into a new territory, which allows them to spread their genes farther than uneaten relatives. So the snails travel like on an airplane. Small size, about two millimeters, allows them to survive in the digestive system of white-eyes. Scientists are still trying to figure out if snails use any additional devices to survive in such extreme conditions.
Most snails have one slippery leg, on which they slip. But in the Antarctic, at a depth of 25 meters, there is a species that chose a different mode of movement. This snail adapted to the aquatic environment, with a pair of wings. As a result, it moves along the seas, as if it hovers in the sky. In their shells there is no calcareous component, which is why it takes a wide variety of forms – from spheres and cones to needles and spirals. At night the sea butterfly hovers near the surface, hunting for plankton, and at night falls to the bottom. But snails are themselves a favorite food for whales, penguins, seals and seabirds. 90% of the diet of Pacific salmon are just marine butterflies. These fragile creatures are known for their sensitive reaction to all changes in the composition of the water. Global warming can kill all of them – the growth of carbon dioxide causes snails to lose their shape and literally dissolve. And since they are the food base for many creatures, the consequences can become catastrophic.
A wandering chameleon snail.
These gastropods are very common in ponds throughout England. Unusual in these snails is the ability to adapt to the environment. Under normal conditions, the snail has a solid solid color. However, when the fish begins to hunt for molluscum, it changes its skin pigment, creating spots on it. So the snail literally merges with the pebble background and it is very difficult to see. But this is not the only defense of the wandering snail. Usually its shell is a spiral-shaped shell. But when a predator is nearby, the snail is swollen to a round shape. Such a plump shell is not easy to bite. So its physical abilities snail called for better adaptation to the environment.
Unique poisonous snail-apple.
This creature is not as harmless as most of its relatives. It has one of the most deadly toxins in the world. A snail-apple regularly enters the list of the most poisonous creatures. But its poison is not intended to attack the enemy, because the snail eats mainly water plants. Eggs of the cochlea cover two special toxins. One – antialimental, interferes with the digestive processes, and the other inhibits digestion. Thus, even the use of these eggs will not kill them in the digestive system of the victim. But the predator can not eat any more food. It is not by chance that there are no willing to eat these bright pink eggs.The only creatures that quietly feed on eggs of such a snail are ants. A distinguishes among the living creatures of this toxin only this snail, ampularia. Some bacteria and plants can also create it. Snail-cone with harpoon.
This is an extremely toxic creature that has even been nicknamed a cigarette snail. The fact is that after she bites a man, he will have only time left for the last cigarette. But the complex system of hunting for this shellfish is not so often spoken. But the snail-cone fires its tooth-harpoon at a speed of 650 kilometers per hour. By the tip of its proboscis, the mollusk senses a close prey, launching a tooth-harpoon full of poison for 250 milliseconds. This happens too quickly for the victim to realize the attack. The tooth connects with the body with a thin cord, which winds up if the target is hit. In the case of a miss, the tooth is simply discarded and another appears in its place. The deadly snail has, it turns out, its ammunition.