Snails are gastropod mollusks that most people know little about. There are many types of snails, but beyond their curious appearance finished off in a shell or shell, the life cycle of these small animals is a mystery to many.
In order to show you more about them, in this AnimalWised article we will explain how snails are born and reproduce. Learn about this important process, in addition to knowing the types of snails and other curiosities about them. ¡Keep reading!You may also be interested in: How do bees reproduce? Index
- Types of snails
- How do snails reproduce?
- How are snails born?
- How to know the age of a snail?
- How do aquarium snails reproduce?
Types of snails
Before talking to you about the reproduction of snails, you need to know a little more about the many species that exist. Are gastropod mollusks and they are among the oldest animals on the planet, as there are records of their existence since the Cambrian.
In addition, there are different types of snails in the world, terrestrial, marine and freshwater:
They are the best known to humans. They have a characteristic appearance of soft body with a shell or shell over it, usually in the form of a spiral. They move through contractions and thanks to the drool or mucus that comes off their body. The different species have a varied diet. There are snails herbivores that feed on leaves, fruits and debris, even snails carnivores that devour other species of snails.
Marine snails are distributed in the oceans and seas around the world, where they live at different depths according to the species. They present the same soft body, but with shells of various shapes, colors and sizes. Many of the marine snails are used for human consumption, while the bite of some species is poisonous.
There is a third type of snails, they are those that live in the fresh waters of rivers, lakes and lagoons around the world. It feeds on algae, plant debris, diatoms and other substances. Present characteristics similar to sea snails, although they are adapted to a medium without salt.
However, ¿how snails are born and reproduce? ¿What is their breeding cycle and how do they mate? Next, we clear these and other questions.
How do snails reproduce?
If you are interested in knowing how snails mate, first you must know that they are a species hermaphrodite, that is, each individual has female and male gonads. However, they are not capable of self-fertilization, so the reproduction of snails requires the participation of two individuals..
Before starting copulation, the snails perform a ritual of courtship. This consists of rubbing their radulas, a structure located in the mouth of these mollusks. In addition, this phase of mating is accompanied by an increase in the secretion of mucus to drool and an increase in the feeding of the snail..
After this, comes the moment of penetration. ¿How do snails mate? Each of the individuals introduces the spicule, a kind of penis or male organ, in the reproductive orifice of its partner, which allows the release of the chalky darts to excite the area. As a result, each snail deposits inside the other the spermatophores, sacs full of sperm.
Once the sperm sac is deposited, they remain in the genital tract until they are transported to the fertilization chamber, where they unite with the eggs. For this reason, the same snail is capable of storing spermatophores from different pairs..
The snail mating process lasts between 5 and 10 hours in each pair, a process that can be repeated approximately every 21 days. With respect to breeding season, it prefers the spring and autumn seasons, at which time the warmest and most humid nights await. After this process, the incubation phase begins and the subsequent birth of the snails.
In the following YouTube video of the Viente Mocholi Grau channel you can see how two snails reproduce:
How are snails born?
When snail reproduction takes place, it is necessary that after mating between 10 and 50 days pass before oviposition.. ¿Snails lay eggs? ¡The answer is yes! We are therefore talking about oviparous animals. The period varies according to the species, but climatic conditions also play an important role in laying..
¿When do snails lay eggs? Faced with the appropriate heat and humidity conditions, each snail will dig a hole in the ground to lay its eggs, this process will take around 20 minutes. On some occasions, they may supplement the nest with dry leaves, twigs, and soil, after which the snail covers the eggs. This last step is very important, as the humidity stimulates the development of the young.
With a humidity between 75 and 85%, the eggs of the snails take between 7 and 25 days to hatch, process that usually occurs during especially rainy nights. When the snail has hatched, it remains in the camera of incubation, surrounded by dirt and debris, between 5 and 10 days, during which it will feed on all the matter that surrounds it, including its own shell. After this time, it will dig out of the hole to continue its life cycle.
In this video you can see the birth of the snails on the YouTube channel Your Daily Internet Ration:
How to know the age of a snail?
Know the age of a snail not easy at first glance, because they are animals that are small in themselves, in most species. However, one of the main ways to achieve it is this, through size, if you know the species, you can determine if it is a snail adult or baby according to the centimeters you measure.
Despite this, we know that the method can be unreliable, but there is another. Although they are hermaphrodites, upon reaching adulthood it is possible to observe the fully developed sexual organs. Taking this into account, a snail with little visible sexual organs would be a baby, another with developing or immature organs would go through the juvenile stage, to be seen fully defined in adulthood.
Even so, each species has unique characteristics, since there are snails that live only one year, while the hope of others is 16. Due to this, even for biologists and experts, it is impossible to determine a single characteristic that shows the age of a snail.
How do aquarium snails reproduce?
The explanations offered on the reproduction of snails correspond to the land species, however, when it comes to the types of sea snails, the process may vary slightly. If you have aquarium snails or you just want to know how sea and freshwater snails mate and how they are born, this section is for you.
Having reached adulthood, they await the breeding season that takes place during the warmer seasons of the year. Several males gather around a female to woo her. Then one or two males can approach her from the front of the body to stimulate spawning or introduce her cool organ, as some species have internal fertilization and other external.
In the case of internal fertilization, the rest of the process is similar to that of land snails. On the other hand, when fertilization is external, lthe female spawns the eggs on a sandy substrate, through its genital orifice. After this, the male fertilizes them, so it is usually present during spawning. The female then covers the eggs with sand and seashells in order to protect them. They can put between 100 and 150 eggs in each laying, although the amount depends on the species.
Eggs hatch when temperatures rise, usually between 5 and 7 days later of the laying. During this stage, they feed on the remains of the shell and plankton.
In this video from the YouTube channel aetven you can see the birth of freshwater snails: