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

Byne's disease, more accurately known as Bynesian decay, is a peculiar and permanently damaging condition (resulting from an on-going chemical reaction) which often attacks mollusk shells that are in storage or on display for long periods of time. Bynesian decay is a form of efflorescence of salts formed by the reaction of acidic vapors with the basic shell surface. This can superficially resemble a growth of mold. Although this condition was first described in the early 19th century, Bynesian decay was not well understood until almost a hundred years later. The condition is named after the man (Loftus Byne) who is best known for describing it in the late 19th century, even though he was not the first person to describe this condition in a publication. In addition, Byne mistakenly assumed that the condition was caused by bacteria, and thus the condition came to be referred to as a "disease".

As well as mollusk shells, various other natural history specimens are susceptible to this form of decay, including eggshells and some fossils and mineral samples that are composed of calcium carbonate. This condition is of concern for museum scientists, and also for anyone who has a private collection of specimens of these kinds. (Read more...)

Selected biography

David Dwight Baldwin
David Dwight Baldwin (1831–1912) was a businessman, educator, and biologist on Maui in the Hawaiian islands. Within biology he is known for his contributions to the study of Hawaiian land snails, the terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks of the Hawaiian Islands.

Baldwin was born on November 26, 1831 in Honolulu. His father was early missionary doctor Dwight Baldwin (1798–1886), and his mother was Charlotte Fowler Baldwin (1805–1873). After a few years living in Waimea, the family moved to the island of Maui in about 1837. Baldwin lived in Connecticut for a time and received both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Arts from Yale.

In 1890, he moved to Haʻikū, where his younger brother Henry Perrine Baldwin (1842–1911) had founded the agricultural venture Alexander & Baldwin with his brother-in-law Samuel Thomas Alexander (1836–1904). At this time Baldwin devoted much of his efforts to studying mollusks, i.e. to malacology, specifically the study of Hawaiian land snails, some of which he named and described. In addition, several land snail species in the family Achatinellidae were named in honor of him, as well as a subgenus Baldwinia of the genus Partulina. He produced the first catalog of Hawaiian land snails and freshwater snails in 1893. (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

Editing Image-Acanthodoris lutea laying eggs 2.jpg

A nudibranch Acanthodoris lutea is shown here laying an egg ribbon, in a tide pool in California. Nudibranchs are hermaphrodites, and therefore all adults are capable of laying eggs.

This species is commonly known as the "orange peel doris" because of its striking coloration, which is an example of aposematism. The bright orange color serves as a warning signal to potential predators because this nudibranch is toxic. When it is handled, it gives off a chemical which smells like sandalwood.

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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