Substrate attributes determine gait in a terrestrial gastropod

Meeting Abstract

P1.17  Friday, Jan. 4  Substrate attributes determine gait in a terrestrial gastropod MCKEE, A*; VOLTZOW, J; PERNET, B; California State University, Long Beach; University of Scranton, Pennsylvania; California State University, Long Beach

Some terrestrial gastropods are able to move using two gaits: adhesive crawling, where the entire foot is coupled to the substrate by mucus and the snail leaves a continuous mucus trail, and loping, where regions of the foot arch above the substrate and the snail leaves a discontinuous mucus trail. Some previous researchers have suggested that loping is only used as a means of escaping predators rapidly. We found that in the pulmonate Cornu aspersum, gait choice is determined in part by attributes of the substrate: snails moved using adhesive crawling on dry acrylic or glass substrates, but loped on dry concrete or wood. Loping snails did not move more rapidly than snails moving by adhesive crawling. Snails loping on concrete secreted a greater volume of pedal mucus per area of substrate contacted than those moving by adhesive crawling on acrylic. Because loping snails contact a smaller area of substrate per distance travelled than do snails using adhesive crawling, loping may help conserve mucus when moving on porous, absorbent substrates like concrete. Additional studies are needed to understand gait choice by terrestrial gastropods in natural habitats and the effects of factors such as body hydration and atmospheric humidity on locomotory behavior.

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