Tuesday, May 06, 2014


Some intertidal snails are like rabbits. A Nassa snail in my aquarium, for example, chases down a mate, they indulge in a minute of frantic twisting and writhing, and then it's over. They go their separate ways without a backward glance.

Some, like the Eastern mud snails, Ilyanassa obsoleta, take their time, and prefer company. Lots of it. (See "... snail orgies".)

I've never managed to see the other invasive mud snail, Batillaria attramentaria, with a mate. However private they may be about it, they are definitely successful breeders, judging by the billions covering our beaches, and the 70+ in my tank. (How they all got here, I don't know; I didn't import that many on purpose!).

But the trophons! I never thought I'd be saying this about a basically faceless snail, but these critters are seriously cute.

Mike and Tillie, the trophon snails; pair of hermits using Mike as a seat; and a lonely limpet.

A couple of weeks ago, I reported on the trophon that laid her eggs in the tank. I thought at the time, that the second one was getting ready to lay her own, and that these would be infertile eggs. But there were no eggs forthcoming. Now I'm convinced that Snail #2 is male; we may end up with babies.

(I've got to quit calling them #1 and #2: from now on, it's Tillie and Mike. That's Tillie on the right, above, Mike on the left.)

After Tillie laid her first batch of eggs, she holed up for a couple of days, barely moving. Mike retired to the far end of the tank to stuff himself with barnacles. When Tillie was ready, she joined him. Then they explored the tank together, allways side by side. Wherever one went, the other followed, until Tillie laid her second batch of eggs. Then she rested for a couple of days and joined Mike again. She's just coming, now, out of her third round of rest after egg-laying, and she's on her way over to where Mike waits for her.

"We travel along, singing our song*,
Side by side."

*Or however it is that snails communicate. Spreading pheromones, perhaps?

1 comment:

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