Portal:Gastropods

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The gastropods portal

The land snail Helix pomatia
Gastropods are a class of animals which have no backbone. In most but not all cases gastropods have a shell, which is created by the mantle. Gastropods are commonly known as snails and slugs. They live in the oceans, on land and in freshwater.

This taxonomic class of invertebrate animals with the scientific name Gastropoda is the largest and most successful class within the mollusks, having 60,000–75,000 named living species, and being second only to the insects in terms of diversity and in terms of the number of named species within one class of animals. Living species of gastropods range in size from adult animals that are less than one millimeter (0.039 in) in length, to a few species that are almost a meter (39.4 in) in length.

Scientists who study gastropods (or other mollusks) are known as malacologists. 2,400 years ago, Aristotle, in his History of Animals, wrote about the sea snails from which the dye Tyrian purple is extracted; the genus Murex still bears the name he used. Many gastropods are important food sources, others have human relevance in other ways, ranging from their shells being used as a source of mother of pearl through to their being vectors for several diseases.

Aquamarine or sea green is used on this portal because gastropods first evolved in the oceans, colonized both land and freshwater habitats, and need the presence of water or water vapor in order to be active. The image which is currently the icon for the gastropod portal shows an individual of Helix pomatia, an air-breathing land snail which is well known to gourmets in the Western world because it is one of the European species that is eaten as escargot.

Selected article

The Chittenango ovate amber snail, scientific name Novisuccinea chittenangoensis, is a species of air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial gastropod mollusk in the family Succineidae, the amber snails. This species is endemic to a very restricted part of the Chittenango area in Madison County, New York, United States. The one extant population is at Chittenango Falls State Park in central New York. It was discovered in 1905.

The only verified extant colony of Novisuccinea chittenangoensis is the type-population at Chittenango Falls, in Chittenango Falls State Park, 3.6 miles north of Cazenovia, between the Towns of Cazenovia and Chittenango, in Madison County, New York. At various times in the past, the species has been thought to have a broader range. To date, although many potentially suitable colony sites have been searched, no colony has been conclusively identified as Novisuccinea chittenangoensis outside of the Chittenango Falls area. The snails survives in and presumably prefer, cool, partially sunlit areas of lush herbaceous growth within the spray zone of the Falls. (Read more...)

Selected biography

Haeckel (left), 1866
Sea snail shells, Kunstformen der Natur, 1904

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919), also written von Haeckel, was an eminent German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, and the kingdom Protista. Haeckel promoted and popularized Charles Darwin's work in Germany and developed the controversial recapitulation theory ("ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny"), claiming that an individual organism's biological development, or ontogeny, parallels and summarizes its species' entire evolutionary development, or phylogeny. Haeckel coined many now ubiquitous terms including "anthropogeny", "phylum", "phylogeny", "ecology". He proposed the kingdom Protista in 1866. His chief interests lay in evolution and life development processes in general, including development of nonrandom form, which culminated in his beautifully illustrated book Kunstformen der Natur (Art forms of nature), which includes over 100 detailed, multi-colour illustrations of animals and sea creatures, including the shells of a variety of marine gastropods. (Read more...)

Did you know?




  • brown slug-like sas nail heading left
    ... that sea gastropod Coriocella nigra (pictured) has five lobes on its body?


  • cap like shell with a hole on its top
    ... that the scale worm Arctonoe vittata protects the keyhole limpet Diodora aspera (shell pictured) with which it lives by attacking predatory starfish?
  • ... that the Cretaceous snail Condonella was described in 1927, but not placed into a snail family until 2000?


  • a right handed shell
    ... that Acmella nana (shell pictured) is the smallest known land snail?
  • lateral view of two heteropods
    ... that the fragile shell of the glassy nautilus Carinaria cristata (pictured) was at one time considered to be worth more than its weight in gold?
  • a pinkish nudibranch
    ... that Spurilla neapolitana (pictured) defends itself with stinging cells derived from the sea anemones it eats?
  • a right handed shell with a palatal tooth
    ... that Pupilla pratensis (shell pictured) has long been neglected in the malacological literature?
  • a lake Skadar between Albania and Montenegro
    ... that there are 12 endemic species of freshwater snails in Lake Skadar (map pictured)?
  • a left handed shell
    ... that the land snail Balea sarsii (shell pictured) has been overlooked for a long time?
  • a cylindrical brown shell
    ... that the land snail Vertigo ultimathule (shell pictured) is endemic to the northernmost part of Scandinavia?
  • a narrowly conical shell
    ... that flashes of light emitted by the sea snail Hinea brasiliana (shell pictured) may act as a "burglar alarm"?
  • ... that Candidula arganica, a snail found in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, lives primarily in meadows?


  • ... that Candidula spadae, a snail native to Central Italy, is at risk in part because of tourist activities?


  • an apical view of a valvatiform white shell
    ... that the subterranean freshwater snail Hauffenia sp. from Slovakia (shell pictured) has been an undescribed species since the 1980s?
  • apertural view of a brown shell
    ... that land snails of the genus Abbottella (Abbottella calliotropis shell pictured) live on the islands of Hispaniola and Cuba?
  • a human hand holding a large snail
    ... that the snail Tonna galea (pictured) is one of very few species of prosobranch gastropods that are luminescent?
  • apical view of a brown shell
    ... that the land snail Notodiscus hookeri (shell pictured) has unique shell structure among all gastropods?
  • a snail with a translucent shell
    ... that the microscopic cave snail Zospeum tholussum (pictured) is so slow that in a week's time it may only move a few millimeters or centimeters in circles?


  • a crawling orange land snail
    ... that the land snail Omalonyx convexus (pictured) can also be found submerged among macrophytes?
  • Pterynotus loebbeckei.jpg
    ... that the malacologist S. Peter Dance said the shell of Pterynotus loebbeckei, (pictured), was the "most exquisite natural object" he had ever seen?


  • black-brown shell
    ... that the only brackish-water pachychilid species, Faunus ater (shell pictured), has a shell that is unique among all the Cerithioidea?



  • a limper among seaweed
    ... that the owl limpet (pictured) maintains a small meadow of algal turf for its own exclusive use?


In the news

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2010

  • 16 July 2010: A new subfamily is established within the Chondrinidae.





  • A list of new Wikipedia articles about gastropods, including those that simply mention the words snail, slug, conch, etc. A bot creates this list, usually every three days.

Selected picture

SnailWynaad.jpg

The snail Indrella ampulla from a tropical rainforest habitat in India. The shell in this species is reduced: the body cannot be fully retracted into the shell. The mantle is partly visible here as an area of off-white color under the edge of the shell. The rest of the body (head with retractile tentacles and most of the foot) is red. The foot fringe is off-white, with narrow black lines. The large caudal mucous pit is visible at the end of the foot.

Lists of gastropods

Related WikiProjects

Major topics

  • Introductory articles
Gastropoda, snail, slug, land snail, freshwater snail, sea snail, sea slug
  • Anatomy of hard parts
Gastropod shell, operculum, radula, love dart, clausilium
  • Anatomy by systems
Digestive system of gastropods, respiratory system of gastropods, circulatory system of gastropods, excretory system of gastropods, sensory organs of gastropods, nervous system of gastropods, reproductive system of gastropods
  • The current taxonomy
Taxonomy of the Gastropoda (Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005), and also, changes in the taxonomy of gastropods since 2005


  • Gastropods with significant positive human impact
As food Ornaments, pearls, etc Research on nerve conduction Source of medicines For other sciences
Conch species
Abalone species
Whelk species
Common periwinkle
Escargot species
and many others
Nacre
Abalone
Trochus
Turbo
Lobatus gigas
Puka shell
Aplysia species
Conus species
Shelled taxa are valuable in archaeological and paleontological studies
  • Gastropods with significant negative human impact
Most invasive on land Most invasive in freshwater Most invasive in saltwater Vectors for diseases
Achatina fulica
Euglandina rosea
Arion vulgaris
Pomacea canaliculata
Potamopyrgus antipodarum
Batillaria attramentaria
Boonea bisuturalis
Ceratostoma inornatum
Crepidula fornicata
Ilyanassa obsoleta
Littorina littorea
Rapana venosa
Urosalpinx cinerea
Biomphalaria glabrata
Oncomelania hupensis
Bulinus truncatus

Related portals

Categories

Categories about gastropods:


Request to editors: please do not create any more categories of gastropods by country. Instead create list articles, article with a list of the marine or non-marine gastropods of whichever country or area you are interested in. We would also like to empty and delete the two remaining country categories we have, adding that information to list articles instead. Thank you.

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Gastropods on Wikicommons Gastropods on Wiktionary Gastropods on Wikispecies
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