Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ride-sharing with a Snail

During a trip (October 25, 2002), I spied the critter on my rain-spattered rental car that I needed to return. It looked interesting enough that I took a dozen pictures over a period of a little less than a half hour (Oct 25, 2002, from 9:06 AM to 9:32 AM). I'm not sure it was still on the car by the time time I finished the car return process.

I noticed a few features in poring over some of the pictures. The body had a certain translucence to it. The antenna were interestingly pointed. The spiral on its shell was cute.

Snail Wrangler's "Anatomy" describes external and internal parts and includes labeled diagrams. Well, now I know those "antennae" are tentacles. The relevant page at Today I Found Out elaborates about tentacles and antennae ("feelers"). (While prepping my images to made a video, I wondered why my snail showed four "extensions"—two longer upper ones and two shorter lower ones.)

While thinking about looking up snail info, I also thought about slugs, which I thought had a lot of similarities to snails. And how! Looks like if a slug had a shell on it, it would easily pass for a snail. The shell seems to be the biggest identifier of difference between these two mollusks.

Snail vs Slug

I ran across numerous hits when I googled "snails vs. slugs". Most sites explained similarities as well as differences besides describing these animals and displaying images.

From Snail Wrangler "FAQ":
Q: What’s the difference between a snail and a slug? Are slugs related to snails?
A: Slugs and snails are very close relatives. They both glide along on a muscular foot, have tentacles. Snails have a shell while most slugs have little or no shell, and slugs with tiny shells cannot withdraw their body into it.

Q: Why are snails so slimy?
A: Snails make slime from special glands to help protect their bodies from drying out. The slime also helps the snail to adhere to surfaces as it glides along, and it also protects the snail’s foot from sharp protrusions.
Diffen's "Slug vs. Snail" has extensive info—comparison images, comparison table, and expansive explanations.
Slugs and snails are generally distinguished by the presence of a large exterior shell on the back of snails. Snails and slugs are both gastropod mollusks, and unlike most gastropods they are terrestrial i.e. found on land.
The site also describes similarities.
Both mollusks have several similar features, like eye spots at the end of slender tentacles, downward-directed mouths, and single, broad, muscular, flat-bottom feet, which is lubricated by mucus and covered with epithelial cilia.
Difference Between | Descriptive Analysis and Comparisons' "Difference between Snail and Slug" is another site with images, comparison table, and explanations, including similarities.
Snails and slugs are both members of a larger group Mullusca. This group or phylum generally includes soft-bodies animals which do not possess any type of body segmentation and often bear an external shell composed of calcareous material. …

Like snails, slugs also belong to the Phylum Mollusca. Slugs and snails both leave a silvery slime trail on the ground. Like snails, slugs are also commonly hermaphrodites. Both have one or two pairs of tentacles on their heads. They eat through radula covered with rows of teeth. Radula is similar to the tongue.
More slime info from Wonderopolis' "How Are Slugs and Snails Different?":
That slime is called mucus. Snails and slugs make mucous so that they can move on the ground. The mucus keeps their bodies from losing moisture to the dry soil beneath them. It also protects them from being cut by sharp objects in the soil. ... Because of their small size and the way they move, snails and slugs are naturally slow-moving creatures.
Note my tiled pic (left side) shows a good-length slime trail. The image is #6 of 12 of my slideshow video.

For lots more info about snails and slugs, do google search for "snail vs slug".

Video Entertainment (A Day at the Races)

"Snail & Slug Race"
An entertaining YouTube video of a side-by-side race between a slug and and snail. Music is abbreviated William Tell Overture, AKA Lone Ranger theme.

Another snail race—"2012 Race Night - Race 2, The Snail Race"
An 8-snail, side-by-side race. Participants were drafted when club members found them loitering at the premises. Music is a portion of "O Fortuna" soundalike and lots of "Chariots of Fire".

OK, not exactly a race—"Snail Gives Birth - Birth of a Snail"
The parent snail in the video resembles the one that rode with me.

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