Gastropods | Gastropoda
Gastropods refer to invertebrates under the class Gastropoda. This class is represented by slugs and snails that live in various environments such as land, freshwater, and oceans. These animals are scavengers, hence a host to various disease-transmitting pathogens. Though they have a distasteful look, some are a source of food and their shells can be used as ornaments in the making of jewelry. Gastropods have no hearing hence use sensory organs like the eyes, olfactory organs, and mechanoreceptors for detecting motion. Gastropods move through creeping using a muscular foot which in some species is extremely specialized for swimming or burrowing.
Gastropods usually have a variety of diets and thus the food they eat ranges a lot. Some gastropods species eat algae from the rocks along the ocean floor while others may feed on large marine plants such as kelp. Some gastropods are bottom feeders and search the ocean floor for food.
Gastropods live in both terrestrial and marine environments, but most species of gastropods live in bodies of water all around the world. Some gastropod species live in coral reef habitats, but generally gastropods are considered one of the most diverse species in their habitats.
The way gastropods reproduce depends highly from one group to another as gastropods are a diverse group of animals. The majority of gastropods reproduce through internal fertilization. Gastropods are also capable of being either male, female, or hermaphrodites which gives them their unique reproduction system.