Tips&TricksJapanese research reveals surprising speed, varied personalities in snails

Japanese research reveals surprising speed, varied personalities in snails

Previously unknown features of snails
Previously unknown features of snails
Images source: © Freepik | Vitar98

11:15 AM EST, January 14, 2024

Most societies have always associated snails with being slow. However, not everyone sees these small creatures in the same way. In many African cultures, snails are considered a very encouraging sign. The local people believe that sighting a snail predicts prosperity and fertility.

In Egypt, the mollusk, due to its appearing and disappearing horns, is considered a symbol of the moon. They believe finding an empty snail shell is a really good omen. However, the research conducted by Japanese scientists has revealed something surprising about snails. The results of their study are so groundbreaking that they will contribute to further studies on evolutionary processes.

Breakthrough Research on Snails

A team of Japanese scientists from Kyoto and Hokkaido is behind the research on snails. The experiments centered on two species of land snails: Karaftohelix editha, known locally as hime-maimai, and Karaftohelix gainesi, known as rezo-maimai. The final results startled even the researchers themselves. They discovered a completely unexpected facet of these mollusks' nature.

Show Your Horns, Snail

Until now, it was widely believed that snails, when intimidated, would retreat into their shells as a defensive strategy. However, the under-studied snail Karaftohelix gainesi, practically endemic to Hokkaido, exhibited utterly different behaviors.

Upon detection of a potential threat, this mollusk would accelerate by 20 - 30%. This response allowed the snail to evade the impending danger. In the end, it was recorded that the mollusk's speed increased from approximately 0.04 inches/s to 0.05 or even up to 0.053 inches/s. Not only was the speed of movement of interest to the researchers, but the activity of these snails during both day and night was also notable.

Peerless Snails

Interestingly, it was discovered that these taxonomically similar snails exhibited completely different behaviors. During the experiments, the mollusk Karaftohelix Editha demonstrated a reactive behavioral syndrome, appearing timid and passive. Conversely, the snail Karaftohelix gainesi presented itself as a fearless, active, and sometimes even an aggressive mollusk.

Undeniably, these discoveries about the differences in snails open up new opportunities for research on evolutionary processes. Moreover, the traits and behaviors of the mollusks discovered have inspired many scientists to conduct further studies on animal personality. The experiments conducted have demonstrated that there's always room for uncovering new secrets in nature.

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