Bug Blog

The Shell Of A Snail Is Not Just For Defense

Many of you probably assumed that a snail’s shell is meant to protect it from dangerous predators. Well, you would be right for the most part. However, there are two different snail species that swing their rock-hard shells at threatening predators, which is a snail behavior never before documented by a scientist.

Researchers from Japan and Russia teamed up to learn more about defensive snail behavior. The researchers eventually learned that there exists two different snail species that use their shells like a club as a fighting tactic against its enemy, the carabid beetle. The researchers compared these two fighting snail species to other closely related species of snails. The researchers found that even closely related snails did not use their shells for defenses purposes like their warrior snail cousins. Instead all the other closely related snails used their shells for only one purpose, and that was to retreat into its hardened min-fortress of a shell until its enemy stopped attacking. Researchers now know which snails are the bravest thanks to this invaluable research.

Could studying how animals attack and defend themselves tell us anything about how animals diversified into different, but similar, species?