Saturday, December 13, 2008

Luminescent Snail

Quantula striata is a very common land snail found in gardens and forest habitats. It grows up to 5 to 6cm and carrys a somewhat flatten shell horizontally.

Quantula striata
However, as SK shared with me, what is remarkable about this snail is that it is the only known land snail that have the ability to bioluminescent. This is emitted by a photo-organ at its mouth. However, it is more common in the juvenile snails and its eggs while most adults lost this ability. It was hypothesised that the light was used to "facilitate the aggregation of other snails to quickly perishable food" but tests proved it to be false. Seems like so far noone else was able to get a reason for its use.

Quantula striata
SK said that the flashing is very faded. I tried taking a small one (the one above on a rubber tree fruit is about 1 cm) in a dark room. Unfortunately, no flashing was seen. Nevertheless, it was still an interesting knowledge gained!

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