For most of us, snails are simply not of interest. It is the French who cook snails for food, knowing a lot about them.
But snails have their own unusual species. Their talents are so unique that engineers even try to adopt some of the tricks.
It turns out that gastropods have very curious skills. We will talk about the most unusual representatives of this class.
Bioluminescent snail. The yellow-brown clusterwink can be found in Australia. When the situation changes around or extraneous sounds are heard, this snail starts flashing blue-green. It is difficult to say the purpose of such a burglar alarm. Perhaps the snail is trying to scare away the enemy, or maybe it wants to attract the attention of several opponents at once, so that they pay attention to each other. Some scientists believe that this is the way snails communicate with each other. But science does not know the exact answer. It is only clear that the shell of the house diffuses light better than any artificial material. The Clusterwink snail has a light-emitting organ, and the scattering effect is so strong that the entire shell begins to glow. Its crystalline structure transforms a ray of light into a real lamp. In the film industry, diffusers are used in a similar way to diffuse light and get rid of shadows. Science is looking for a way to replicate this effect, which would help create extremely effective lampshades.
Scaly-legged iron snail. The very name of the scaly-legged mollusk already speaks of its uniqueness. But this incredible creature also lives in an extremely durable, iron shell. This is a unique case for nature. Such a snail lives at a depth of 2,400 meters below the surface of the ocean, next to hydrothermal springs. Heavy metals that are present in the vicinity are absorbed by the shellfish. The result is a three-layer carapace that can withstand incredible pressure. Its top layer is made of iron sulfide. The middle one is a sponge shock absorber. The natural enemy of these snails is crabs. And thanks to their shell, mollusks can not only resist the attacker, but even inflict damage on him by blunting his claws. It remains for the military to figure out how to create a similar armor for humans.
Blind transparent snail. Croatia has one of the world's longest cave systems. Moreover, most of it has not been studied at all. Not so long ago, scientists found a new snail at a depth of one thousand meters underground. It has no organs of vision, and there is no color pigment in its flesh and shell. All this is not necessary for the inhabitant of the dungeon, where the light does not penetrate. And such snails move incredibly slowly, even in comparison with their already slow counterparts - only a few centimeters a week. In fact, they just travel in circles on lichens and fungi. However, researchers believe that these snails can move with the help of other underground inhabitants or water.
Horse-drawn snail. Snails cannot escape predators because they are so slow. Shellfish cannot run away from their pursuers. Their only choice is to hide in a house and await their fate. One inhabitant of the Great Barrier Reef behaves quite differently. When this snail with a humped shell is in danger, it can jump up to its own height, that is, up to two centimeters in height and up to four centimeters in length. The natural enemy of the jumping snail is the toxic cone snail. But when the "horse" senses poison in the vicinity, she prefers not to wait for the touch of a poisonous dart, but to jump aside.
Purple snail with bubbles. This species also lives in the depths of the salty ocean. Like its other brethren, the purple snail has a single problem - slow movement. She solves this transport problem in a peculiar way, creating a raft, a kind of raft of bubbles. The snail spits out bubbles and sits on them upside down. This is how mollusks can move with the help of waves. For aquatic balloonists, bubbles are not just transport, but also a storage device for eggs. The mucus gradually hardens to a bubble film. Young snails can also travel on it until they create their own raft.
Japanese snail traveler. A bird attack is a disaster for most snails. But for some Japanese molluscs, the attack of white-eyed molluscs is even beneficial. After the birds ingest them, some snails manage to survive. This experience is experienced by about 15% of snails. But getting into the intestines of the bird allows the molluscs to travel. Surviving specimens enter new territory, which gives them the opportunity to spread their genes further than uneaten relatives. So snails travel like on an airplane. Their small size, about two millimeters, allows them to survive in the digestive system of white-eyed animals. Scientists are still trying to figure out if snails are using any additional adaptations to survive in such extreme conditions.
Sea butterfly. Most snails have one slippery foot on which they slide. But in Antarctica, at a depth of 25 meters, there is a species that has chosen a different mode of movement. This snail has adapted to the aquatic environment by acquiring a pair of wings. As a result, it moves across the seas, as if it soars in the sky. Their shells do not have a calcareous component, which is why it takes on a wide variety of shapes - from spheres and cones to needles and spirals. At night, the sea butterfly hovers near the surface, hunting for plankton, and at night it sinks to the bottom. But snails themselves are the favorite food of whales, penguins, seals and seabirds. Sea moths make up 90% of the diet of Pacific salmon. These fragile creatures are known for their sensitive reaction to all changes in the composition of water. Global warming can kill them all - the growth of carbon dioxide makes the snails lose their shape and literally dissolve. And since they are a food source for many creatures, the consequences can be disastrous.
Wandering chameleon snail. These gastropods are very common in ponds throughout England. Unusual in these snails is their ability to adapt to their environment. Under normal conditions, the snail has a solid solid color. However, when a fish begins to hunt for a mollusk, 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 it. But this is not the only protection of the wandering snail. Usually its shell is a spiral shell. But when a predator is nearby, the snail swells to a round shape. Such a plump shell is no longer easy to bite. So the snail called its physical abilities for better adaptation to the environment.
Unique poisonous apple snail. This creature is not at all as harmless as most of its relatives. It possesses one of the deadliest toxins in the world. The apple snail is regularly included in the list of the most poisonous creatures. But its poison is not intended to attack the enemy, because the snail feeds mainly on aquatic plants. The snail eggs are coated with two special toxins. One is anti-alimentary, which interferes with the digestive processes, and the other inhibits digestion. Thus, even eating these eggs will not kill them in the victim's digestive system. But the predator will not be able to eat any more food. It is no coincidence that there are no people who want to eat these bright pink eggs. The only creatures that calmly feed on the eggs of such a snail are ants. And this toxin is distinguished among living beings only by this snail, the ampulla. Some bacteria and plants can also create it.
Snail-cone with a harpoon. This extremely toxic creature, which was even nicknamed the cigarette snail. The fact is that after she stings a person, he will only have time for the last cigarette. But the complex hunting system of this mollusk is not often spoken about. But the cone snail shoots out its harpoon tooth at a speed of 650 kilometers per hour. With the tip of its proboscis, the mollusk senses close prey, launching a harpoon tooth filled with venom in 250 milliseconds. This happens too quickly for the victim to be aware of the attack. The tooth is connected to the body by a thin cord that unwinds 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, it turns out, has its own ammunition.