Saturday, August 20, 2022

Fascinating Babies

I removed an enormous Chinese mystery snail (invasive) from a log in our cove and left it on our dock. It got stood on and crushed, so I bent down to take a look:

I was thrilled to see baby snails, fully formed inside the crushed body. I'd read that this species gives birth to live young, and here was the evidence, right in front of me. It was thrilling!

I floated them all in a frisbee with water, and using tweezers, I counted 15 intact babies with shells and 5 pink jelly blobs left after the crushing.

I'm not sure what the pink blobs are ... embryos? The literature suggests that females carry varying stages of offspring at any one time. Maybe it's food for their young?

I wouldn't have thought to deliberately crush one to see what was inside! Since examining this specimen, I've been struggling to get the smell of snail innards out of my nasal passages - my olfactory memory is way too strong for my own good.

These young snails look quite lovely when their shells are pearlescent


Possible Impact (

"What are the impacts and ecology of the Chinese mystery snails?
As the Chinese mystery snails are lower-trophic species in freshwater ecosystems which have not evolved to incorporate those large snails in their food webs, we anticipate indirect and unexpected impacts. In other studies in the USA, Chinese mystery snails, in conjunction with other invasive species, have been implicated in algal blooms, reduction of native mollusk species and changing fish food web dynamics."

1 comment:

Wendy said...

So interesting. Maybe the mysterious pink blobs are why they are a mystery.