Category Archives: molluscs

Jeremy, the lonely left-handed snail, finally mates—and then dies

On September 21 I put up a post about a rare left-handed mutant of the garden snail, Cornu aspersa, named Jeremy.  (That post explains why snails of only identical coiling can mate, due to their hermaphroditism and the position in which they copulate.)  Nearly all garden snails (and 90% of all snail species) have right-handed […]

Australia’s (semi)terrestrial octopus

This new video, from Attenborough’s BBC Earth series, shows an octopus taking to land to hunt animals in tide pools. As usual, it’s a really nice clip, but is lacking one bit of information. The YouTube notes say this: “This extraordinary species found in Northern Australia is like no other Octopus, and land is no […]

Can I use Venus Fly Traps to get rid of garden pests?

by Matthew Cobb — Science (@scienmag) March 18, 2017 Betteridge’s law of headlines strikes again.

Directionally asymmetrical eyes (and behavior) in a squid: left eye big, right eye small

Last week I wrote three posts (1, 2, and 3) on “directional asymmetry”: the phenomenon whereby an animal is asymmetrical in a way that shows “handedness”; that is, a trait is differentially expressed or developed on a consistent side of the body, either the right or the left. One example is the enlarged canine tooth of […]

Readers’ wildlife photographs

Again, I’m putting up photos that arrived in the last day or so, as it’s much easier when I’m on the road. Today reader Jacques Hausser sent us a definitely underrepresented group: gastropods! Snails are underrepresented in your Reader’s wildlife photographs series. Meet three species here with a surprising characteristic. Did you know that some snails […]

An unusual fishlike sea slug

Nudibranchs, or sea slugs, are in the phylum Mollusca and the class Gastropoda, which means that they’re snails. But they’ve lost their shell during the course of evolution, though a vestigial shell is retained in the early larval stage. They’re also often toxic or venomous, and have therefore adopted aposematic (warning) coloration (note: because many […]

Exceedingly small snails!

This morning, Matthew Cobb sent me the needle’s-eye photo below, and then reader Dom conveniently sent the article from which it was taken: a new paper in ZooKeys by Barna Páll-Gergely et al. (reference below) describing what are among the smallest snails in the world. And when I say “small,” I mean TINY! The group of researchers described […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Rick Mark sends us some photos of colorful nudibranches, which are shell-less gastropod mollusks. Rick notes that he loves nature photography, including birds and wildflowers (he produced a guide to wildflowers in an Indiana nature preserve as part of his master’s thesis). I’m sending some photos of the bizarre life found in tide pools […]

The most incredible animal photo in the history of Earth (and lagniappe)

This morning we’ll skip the “readers’ wildlife photos” post in favor of a few striking animal pictures and videos that readers sent me. The first four items are either scary or gruesome, but, you know, that’s nature. I’ve seen a lot of animal photos in my time, but the first one in the series below takes […]

Speaking of clams. . .

(Does that sound like the title of a Krista Tippett show?). I’m on the move today, and posting will be light, which means that if I report on science or natural history, I won’t have time to read the original papers. But this finding is cool anyway, and there’s a video, so I’ll use a […]