Gastropods | Gastropoda

Gastropods | Gastropoda

Description
Description

Gastropods, under the class Gastropoda, are a vast and diverse group of mollusks known for their distinctive univalve shells, though some are shell-less. With over 60,000 species, they inhabit a wide range of environments from deep ocean floors to terrestrial gardens. Gastropods, which include snails and slugs, are primarily recognized by their asymmetric bodies caused by a developmental process called torsion. This group has a rich fossil record, tracing back over 500 million years, illustrating a remarkable evolutionary journey. Adaptability has been key to their success, allowing them to thrive in almost every ecosystem on Earth.

Anatomy
Anatomy

Gastropods, commonly known as snails and slugs, have a distinct anatomy with a soft, muscular foot used for gliding on a layer of mucus, facilitating movement. Many sport a spiral shell into which they can retreat, though some lack shells entirely. They possess a radula, a toothy tongue-like organ for scraping food. Gastropods have simple eyes and sensitive tentacles on their heads, aiding in navigation and detecting light. While they don't produce sounds as we understand speech, they communicate through chemical signals. These creatures are known for their slow pace but are remarkably resilient and adaptable.

Human Interaction
Human Interaction

From ancient culinary delicacies to garden pests, gastropods have had a diverse relationship with humans. Snails, especially in French cuisine, are considered a delicacy, while in gardens, they're often unwelcome guests feasting on plants. In pop culture, characters like Gary from "SpongeBob SquarePants" have brought a charming spotlight to these creatures.

Conservation efforts focus on protecting their diverse habitats, from damp forests to arid deserts, as many species face threats from habitat destruction and pollution. Recognizing their ecological importance, efforts are made to maintain the delicate balance between human activities and gastropod conservation.

Common Questions
Common Questions
What do gastropods eat?

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.

Where do gastropods live?

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.

How do gastropods reproduce?

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.

Animals

* Under Development *

5.91”-15.35” | 15-39 cm
9.45”-23.62” | 24-60 cm
15”-39” | 38-99 cm
15-31 lb | 6.8-14 kg
1 year
Black Sea Hare
39.000
60.000
99.000
14.000
1.00
5800
GUIDE
3D
Black Sea Hare
.55”-.98” | 1.4-2.5 cm
.59”-1.18” | 1.5-3 cm
3.15”-5.91” | 8-15 cm
1-2 years
Black Slug
2.500
3.000
15.000
2.00
2900
GUIDE
3D
Black Slug
2.36”-3.15” | 6-8 cm
3.94”-4.53” | 10-11.5 cm
7.87”-9.84” | 20-25 cm
2-3 years
California Mussel
8.000
11.500
25.000
3.00
550
GUIDE
3D
California Mussel
.43”-1.06” | 1.1-2.7 cm
.43”-1.06” | 1.1-2.7 cm
.63”-1.5” | 1.6-3.8 cm
4-10 years
Common Periwinkle
2.700
2.700
3.800
10.00
3500
GUIDE
3D
Common Periwinkle
1.85”-2.56” | 4.7-6.5 cm
1.57”-2.36” | 4-6 cm
3.15”-4.33” | 8-11 cm
.11-.22 lb | .05-.1 kg
10-15 years
Common Whelk
6.500
6.000
11.000
0.100
15.00
2950
GUIDE
3D
Common Whelk
9.5”-2.6” | 2.4-6.6 cm
1.77”-4.92” | 4.5-12.5 cm
3”-8” | 7.6-20.3 cm
.88-1.98 lb | .4-.9 kg
10-20 years
Eastern Oyster
6.600
12.500
20.300
0.900
20.00
2000
GUIDE
3D
Eastern Oyster
.98”-1.77” | 2.5-4.5 cm
.98”-1.57” | 2.5-4 cm
1.97”-3.54” | 5-9 cm
.015-.03 lb | .007-.015 kg
2-5 years
Garden Snail
4.500
4.000
9.000
0.015
5.00
7100
GUIDE
3D
Garden Snail
3.46”-5.12” | 8.8-13 cm
3.54”-4.72” | 9-12 cm
7.87”-11.81” | 20-30 cm (Overall)
.44-1 lb | .2-.45 kg
5-9 years
Giant African Snail
13.000
12.000
30.000
0.450
9.00
10800
GUIDE
3D
Giant African Snail
3.15”-5.51” | 8-14 cm
3.15”-5.91” | 8-15 cm
5”-9” | 12.7-22.9 cm
.88-1.98 lb | .4-.9 kg
10-15 years
Knobbed Whelk
14.000
15.000
22.900
0.900
15.00
860
GUIDE
3D
Knobbed Whelk
.39”-.79” | 1-2 cm
.55”-1.02” | 1.4-2.6 cm
3.94”-7.87” | 10-20 cm
2-4 years
Leopard Slug
2.000
2.600
20.000
4.00
8200
GUIDE
3D
Leopard Slug
1.57”-8.27” | 4-21 cm
1.57”-8.27” | 4-21 cm
2.5”-16” | 6.4-40.6 cm
1.54-1.98 lb | .7-.9 kg
10-15 years
Lightning Whelk
21.000
21.000
40.600
0.900
15.00
1400
GUIDE
3D
Lightning Whelk
4.33”-9.06” | 11-23 cm
5.12”-9.84” | 13-25 cm
6”-12” | 15.2-30.5 cm
3-5 lb | 1.36-2.27 kg
20-40 years
Queen Conch
23.000
25.000
30.500
2.270
40.00
4300
GUIDE
3D
Queen Conch
1.57”-3.15” | 4-8 cm
3.94”-7.87” | 10-20 cm
5”-10” | 12.7-25.4 cm
1-2 lb | .45-.91 kg
30-40 years
White Abalone
8.000
20.000
25.400
0.910
40.00
790
GUIDE
3D
White Abalone
White Abalone (Haliotis sorenseni)
Measured comparison illustration of the size of a White Abalone to other gastropods

The White Abalone (Haliotis sorenseni) is a large sea snail and marine gastropod mollusk. They are found in open low and high relief rock or boulder habitats that are interspersed with sand channels. Historically they ranged from Point Conception, California to Baja California on the offshore islands, but since the mid-1990s there are low numbers of isolated survivors along the mainland coast in Santa Barbara. Physically the shell has three to five open holes, and it is oval-shaped, thin, and deep. As a herbivore the White Abalone grazes mainly on microalgae.

White Abalones have a length between 5”-10” (12.7-25.4 cm), width from 3.94”-7.87” (10-20 cm), height of 1.57”-3.15” (4-8 cm), and weight in the range of 1-2 lb (.45-.91 kg). The typical lifespan of the White Abalone is 30-40 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of White Abalone in multiple poses
The White Abalone (Haliotis sorenseni) is a large sea snail and marine gastropod mollusk. They are found in open low and high relief rock or boulder habitats that are interspersed with sand channels. Historically they ranged from Point Conception, CA to Baja California on the offshore islands.

White Abalones have a length between 5”-10” (12.7-25.4 cm), width from 3.94”-7.87” (10-20 cm), height of 1.57”-3.15” (4-8 cm), and weight in the range of 1-2 lb (.45-.91 kg). The typical lifespan of the White Abalone is 30-40 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of White Abalone in multiple poses
White Abalone (Haliotis sorenseni)
Height:
1.57”-3.15” | 4-8 cm
Width:
3.94”-7.87” | 10-20 cm
Length:
5”-10” | 12.7-25.4 cm
Depth:
Weight:
1-2 lb | .45-.91 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Haliotis sorenseni
Lifespan
30-40 years

Drawings include:

White Abalone side elevation, front, top

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Queen Conch (Strombus gigas)
Comparison drawing of the Queen Conch compared to other gastropods

The Queen Conch (Aliger gigas) is a large edible sea snail. It has a very large, solid, and heavy shell with knob-like spines on the shoulder. Other characteristics are a flared, thick outer lip, pink or orange aperture, and a sandy exterior that helps to blend with the surroundings. They are native to the Caribbean Sea, and found in the tropical northwestern Atlantic, from Bermuda to Brazil. As a herbivore the Queen Conch feeds by browsing for plant and algal material that grows in seagrass beds. It will also scavenge for decaying plant matter.

Queen Conchs have a length between 6”-12” (15.2-30.5 cm), width from 5.12”-9.84” (13-25 cm), height of 4.33”-9.06” (11-23 cm), and weight in the range of 3-5 lb (1.36-2.27 kg). The typical lifespan of the Queen Conch is 20-40 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Queen Conch viewed from the front, side, and top
The Queen Conch (Aliger gigas) is a large edible sea snail. It has a very large, solid, and heavy shell with knob-like spines on the shoulder. Other characteristics are a flared, thick outer lip, pink or orange aperture, and a sandy exterior that helps to blend with the surroundings.

Queen Conchs have a length between 6”-12” (15.2-30.5 cm), width from 5.12”-9.84” (13-25 cm), height of 4.33”-9.06” (11-23 cm), and weight in the range of 3-5 lb (1.36-2.27 kg). The typical lifespan of the Queen Conch is 20-40 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Queen Conch viewed from the front, side, and top
Queen Conch (Strombus gigas)
Height:
4.33”-9.06” | 11-23 cm
Width:
5.12”-9.84” | 13-25 cm
Length:
6”-12” | 15.2-30.5 cm
Depth:
Weight:
3-5 lb | 1.36-2.27 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Strombus gigas
Lifespan
20-40 years

Drawings include:

Queen Conch side elevation, front, top

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Black Slug (Arion ater)
Scale illustration of an average Black Slug with compared to other gastropods

The Black Slug (Arion Ater) is a large terrestrial gastropod mollusk that is native to Europe. They are known to be deep black, and their pigmentation darkens with increasing latitude. Young Black Slugs are brown or ivory, and they turn gray before becoming black at maturity. Black Slugs are omnivores, and their diet includes fungi, carrion, earthworms, leaves, stems, and dead plant material. They produce three forms of mucus to prevent them from dying of dehydration. Thin mucus covers the slug laterally, and the thicker mucus is secreted along the length of the slug. The vile-tasting mucus scares of predators.

Black Slugs have a length between 3.15”-5.91” (8-15 cm), body width from .59”-1.18” (1.5-3 cm), and height of .55”-.98” (1.4-2.5 cm). The typical lifespan of the Black Slug is 1-2 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Black Slug seen from the side, front, and top
The Black Slug (Arion Ater) is a large terrestrial gastropod mollusk that is native to Europe. They are known to be deep black, and their pigmentation darkens with increasing latitude. Young Black Slugs are brown or ivory, and they turn gray before becoming black at maturity.

Black Slugs have a length between 3.15”-5.91” (8-15 cm), body width from .59”-1.18” (1.5-3 cm), and height of .55”-.98” (1.4-2.5 cm). The typical lifespan of the Black Slug is 1-2 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Black Slug seen from the side, front, and top
Black Slug (Arion ater)
Height:
.55”-.98” | 1.4-2.5 cm
Width:
.59”-1.18” | 1.5-3 cm
Length:
3.15”-5.91” | 8-15 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Arion ater
Lifespan
1-2 years

Drawings include:

Black Slug side elevation, front, top

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California Mussel (Mytilus californianus)
Comparison drawing of the California Mussel compared to other gastropods

The California Mussel (Mytilus californianus) is an edible mussel and a marine bivalve mollusk. They are endemic to the west coast of North America, as they occur from northern Mexico to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. They like high salinity, low sediment conditions on rocky coasts. California Mussels are often found clustered together in large aggregations. Their shells are thick and the coloration is blue with a heavy brown periostracum. The beaks of the shell are often eroded, and the inner surface is blue and lightly pearly. The flesh of the mussel is orange.

California Mussels have a length between 7.87”-9.84” (20-25 cm), width from 3.94”-4.53” (10-11.5 cm), and height of 2.36”-3.15” (6-8 cm). The typical lifespan of the California Mussel is 2-3 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the California Mussel viewed from the front, side, and top
The California Mussel (Mytilus californianus) is an edible mussel and a marine bivalve mollusk. They are endemic to the west coast of North America, as they occur from northern Mexico to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. They like high salinity, low sediment conditions on rocky coasts.

California Mussels have a length between 7.87”-9.84” (20-25 cm), width from 3.94”-4.53” (10-11.5 cm), and height of 2.36”-3.15” (6-8 cm). The typical lifespan of the California Mussel is 2-3 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the California Mussel viewed from the front, side, and top
California Mussel (Mytilus californianus)
Height:
2.36”-3.15” | 6-8 cm
Width:
3.94”-4.53” | 10-11.5 cm
Length:
7.87”-9.84” | 20-25 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Mytilus californianus
Lifespan
2-3 years

Drawings include:

California Mussel side elevation, front, top

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Giant African Snail (Achatina achatina)
Scale illustration of an average Giant African Snail with compared to other gastropods

The Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) is a large land snail that has been a significant cause in pest issues around the world. As a voracious feeder, the Giant African Snail eats a wide range of plant material, and it is a vector for plant pathogens which causes severe damage to agricultural crops and native plants. The species thrives in many types of habitats with mild climates. Physically, they have a conical shell, and the coloration is highly variable and dependent on diet. Usually it is brown, and the shell is banded.

Giant African Snails have an overall length between 7.87”-11.81” (20-30 cm), width from 3.54”-4.72” (9-12 cm), overall height of 3.46”-5.12” (8.8-13 cm), and weight in the range of .44-1 lb (.2-.45 kg). Their shell length is commonly between 5.9”-8” (15-20.3 cm) with a height of 2.75”-3.94” (7-10 cm). The typical lifespan of the Giant African Snail is 5-9 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Giant African Snail seen from the side, front, and top
The Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) is a large land snail that has been a significant cause in pest issues around the world. As a voracious feeder, the Giant African Snail eats a wide range of plant material, and it is a vector for plant pathogens which causes severe damage to agriculture.

Giant African Snails have an overall length between 7.87”-11.81” (20-30 cm), width from 3.54”-4.72” (9-12 cm), overall height of 3.46”-5.12” (8.8-13 cm), and weight in the range of .44-1 lb (.2-.45 kg). Their shell length is commonly between 5.9”-8” (15-20.3 cm) with a height of 2.75”-3.94” (7-10 cm). The typical lifespan of the Giant African Snail is 5-9 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Giant African Snail seen from the side, front, and top
Giant African Snail (Achatina achatina)
Height:
3.46”-5.12” | 8.8-13 cm
Width:
3.54”-4.72” | 9-12 cm
Length:
7.87”-11.81” | 20-30 cm (Overall)
Depth:
Weight:
.44-1 lb | .2-.45 kg
Area:

Shell Height: 2.75”-3.94” | 7-10 cm

Shell Length: 5.9”-8” | 15-20.3 cm

Scientific Name
Achatina achatina
Lifespan
5-9 years

Drawings include:

Giant African Snail side elevation, front, top

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