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Snails, Scales and Animal Tales: Bedtime stories for boys and girls (Volume 2)

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For example, individual snails of the two rather similar helicid species Cepaea hortensis and Cepaea nemoralis can sometimes only be distinguished by examining the shape of the love dart and the vaginal mucus glands which in the anatomical diagram are marked "MG" and are positioned off the structure marked "V". There is a complex hermaphroditic reproductive system in pulmonate snails those snails that have a lung rather than a gill or gills.

Their reproductive system is completely internal, except for the active protrusion eversion of the penis for copulation.

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The outer opening of the reproductive system is called the "genital pore"; it is positioned on the right hand side, very close to the head of the animal. This opening is virtually invisible however, unless it is actively in use. The love dart is created and stored before use in a highly muscular internal anatomical structure known as the stylophore or dart sac also known as the bursa telae. The exact positioning of the stylophore varies, but it is in the vicinity of the eversible penis and the vagina, where these two structures open into the "atrium", a common area right inside the genital pore.


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The opening of the stylophore leads directly into the atrium in certain species in the families Vitrinidae , Parmacellidae , Helminthoglyptidae , Bradybaenidae , Urocyclidae , Ariophantidae , and Dyakiidae. The opening of the stylophore can instead lead to the penis, as is the case in some species of Aneitinae a subfamily of Athoracophoridae , Sagdidae , Euconulidae , Gastrodontidae and Onchidiidae.

Alternatively, it can lead to the vagina, as in the case in some species of Ariopeltinae a subfamily of Oopeltidae , Ariolimacinae a subfamily of Ariolimacidae , Philomycidae , other species within the Bradybaenidae , and also in the Hygromiidae , Helicidae and Dyakiidae. Only two families have darts present in every species: the Bradybaenidae and in the Dyakiidae. In all the other families there is reduction or loss of dart-making ability in some of the species cf. Many species have only one dart sac, however other species have several.

Snails in the family Bradybaenidae have more than one dart sac, and some species of Hygromiidae and Helmintoglyptidae have four dart sacs. All pulmonate land snails are hermaphrodites , and have a complete and rather elaborate set of both male and female reproductive organs see the simplified anatomical diagram above , but the majority of pulmonate land snails have no love darts and no dart sac. Calcareous composed of calcium carbonate darts are found in a limited number of pulmonate families [1] within the Stylommatophora.

Why do snails and other animals have shells?

Most of these families are within the land snail superfamily Helicoidea : [15] Helicidae , Bradybaenidae , Helminthoglyptidae , Hygromiidae , Humboldtianidae previously considered to be a part of the Hygromiidae. Calcium carbonate darts are also found in the family Zonitidae within the superfamily Zonitoidea , and in one family of slugs, the Philomycidae , which are within the superfamly Arionoidea.

Lightly calcified darts occur in the snail and semi-slug family Urocyclidae , within the superfamily Helicarionoidea.


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  7. Chitinous composed of chitin love darts occur in the pulmonate land snail families Ariophantidae superfamily Helicarionoidea , in the family Helicarionidae superfamily Helicarionoidea , in the Vitrinidae superfamily Limacoidea , and in the slug family Parmacellidae superfamily Parmacelloidea. Within the more ancient clade Systellommatophora , chitin darts are found in the pulmonate sea slugs of the family Onchidiidae , in the superfamily Onchidioidea.

    Love darts made of cartilage occur in the family Gastrodontidae. Because of the presence of darts in many superfamilies of the Stylommatophora, it seems likely that love darts appeared during the early evolution of the Pulmonata , and that the ancestors of the Stylommatophora possessed darts already. During evolution, darts appear to have been lost secondarily, i.

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    Vestigial darts ones that exist only in a rudimentary condition occur in the family Sagdidae , [14] and in many Helicoidea , the surrounding organs have also degenerated become non-functional. The sarcobelum is a fleshy or cuticle-coated papilla which is considered to be a degenerated, previously dart-bearing, organ.

    Love darts are shaped in many distinctive ways, and vary considerably between species. The morphology of the dart is almost always species-specific. Some darts have a round cross section, others are bladed or vaned. In some cases the blades on the sides of the dart are bifurcated or divided into two parts. Some darts are shaped like a needle or a thorn , others have a tip like an arrowhead , or look like a dagger. What all the shapes have in common is their ability to pierce.


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    6. SEM images of love darts from eight different species of pulmonate land snails. The following tables or charts show numerous examples of love dart morphology, on a family by family and species by species basis. Not all families and species are included. The drawings show first the cross section, and then the lateral view, of the dart in that particular species. Darts vary in size according to the size of the snail or slug species, but here they are all shown at the same size, for purposes of comparison.

      Some species in this family have spiral darts, [1] and some darts have " minute barbs pointing toward the tip ". Species of slugs within this family have spiral darts. This species was probably either Z. Some writers have commented on the parallel between the love darts of snails and the love darts fired by the Roman god Cupid , known as Eros in Greek mythology. Malacologist mollusk expert Ronald Chase of McGill University said about the garden snail Cornu aspersum , "I believe the myth of Cupid and his arrows has its basis in this snail species, which is native to Greece".

      He added, "The Greeks probably knew about this behavior because they were pretty good naturalists and observers.

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      In some languages, the dart that these snails use before mating is known as an "arrow". Marine gastropods in the predatory superfamily Conoidea , known as the toxoglossans , meaning "poison tongue" use a poison dart or harpoon , which is a single modified radula tooth which is created inside the mouth of the snail, and which is primarily made of chitin. These snails are carnivorous hunters: the harpoon is used in predation.

      When the snail is close to its prey, it extends its proboscis a considerable distance; then it fires its harpoon and injects a toxin into the prey. For most species of toxoglossans the prey is marine worms, but in the case of some larger cone snails , the prey is small fish. Opisthobranch gastropods are hermaphrodites, as are the pulmonates; however, opisthobranchs do not have love darts.

      Nonetheless, some of them do stab one another during mating, using hardened anatomical structures. For example, in the Cephalaspidean genus Siphopteron , both seaslugs attempt to stab their partner with a two-part, spined penis. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Reproductive system of gastropods. May Hawaiian Shell News. Reprinted as Chung, Daniel J. April Internet Hawaiian Shell News : 11—5.

      Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. The photo in this article shows a dart which has pierced the body entirely, and is protruding on the other side. McGill Tribune, 13 February American Malacological Bulletin.

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      Behavioral Ecology. Journal of Molluscan Studies. BMC Evolutionary Biology. Folia Malacologica. Archived from the original on 27 October On Elona Pulmonata, Eloniadae fam. Testacellidae and Zonitidae. Veliger , The reproductive anatomy of Philomycus sellatus Hubricht, and Philomycus virginicus Hubricht, Gastropoda: Philomycidae. The Nautilus, vol. Biology Letters. Chase, Ronald; Vaga, Kristin Chase, Ronald Chung, Daniel J. Davison, Angus; Wade, Christopher M. Journal of Zoology. Hunt, S Koene, Joris M; Schulenburg, Hinrich Koene, Joris M.

      The American Naturalist. Koene, J.