Ampullariidae

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Apple snails
Spike-topped apple snail
Pomacea bridgesii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda

informal group Architaenioglossa

Superfamily: Ampullarioidea
Family: Ampullariidae
J.E. Gray, 1824[1]
Diversity
105-170 freshwater species[2]

9 genera[3]
more than 150 nominal species[3]

Synonyms

Pilidae

Ampullariidae, the apple snails,[4] is a family of large freshwater snails. It is the largest species of snail. Apple snails are most commonly found in Africa, South and Central America, West Indies, Southern USA, and Asia, but can be found all over the world. They are well adapted to their region and therefore can also be sold as pets and bought at most pet stores in the US. Apple snails are the preferred type of pet snail because of their appearance and size. Apple snails are also called golden mystery snails, golden snails, and mystery snails.

Habitat[change | change source]

Apple snails are aquatic snails that prefer water temperatures between 18°-28° Celsius, or 65°-82° Fahrenheit. They eat things like fresh fruits, lettuce, other vegetables, algae and herbivorous wafers. However, they are not called apple snails because they eat apples. They get their name from the fact that one species of apple snails can grow to be the size of an apple. Apple snails are also common aquarium pets because of their size. They also prefer to be with other snails. They are good pets because they can live in almost any water condition, for example, water with low/high levels of oxygen, and various temperatures. Although they can live in water with high oxygen, this makes them move slower.

Anatomy[change | change source]

A snail has a basic anatomy like any other mollusk. They have a shell, a nervous system, a circulatory system, a respiratory system, and a reproductive system. The circulatory system has an open heart system, which pumps blood which flows over all of the organs in the snails body without veins or arteries. The respiratory system includes gills and lungs. Apple snails live in water therefor they need gills. They have lungs because their bodies adapted to their environment because of frequent droughts; so they need lungs to breathe during the droughts. Their nervous system includes their brain, which controls their body. They are one of the only species of snails that are not hermaphrodites. Each gender has its own reproductive parts.[5]

Food and Digestion[change | change source]

Apple snails are herbivores, so they eat mostly aquatic vegetation, and algae. In captivity, they are commonly fed fish food, along with supplements of rotting organic waste, such as vegetables.. To digest food, apple snails first break up food with the radula teeth, and then the food will be swallowed, and travel down the esophagus and to the stomach. It will eventually exit through the anus as feces. Apple snails will eat most aquatic vegetation, and can "ruin" the look of an aquarium very quickly, as they are scavengers.

The heart[change | change source]

Apple snails have a open circulatory system.[6] This means that the heart pumps blood, but instead of it pumping through veins and arteries like humans have, the blood washes over the organs, and the organs absorb it on contact. After the blood is pumped and the nutrients have been absorbed, it flows back to the heart to take the carbon dioxide away and to get new oxygen.

Reproductive System[change | change source]

The apple snails are not hermaphrodite, like most snails, meaning that they have two genders.

The male snail has two kinds of sperm. One is for attaching onto the female's egg, and the function of the other sperm is unknown.

The female's eggs are stored in the "ovaria" which is near the digestive gland. It goes to the receptaculum seminis, where the male's sperm is stored. The eggs are fertilized here. Then, after the eggs are fertilized, they are sent to the shell gland which will give the eggs a protective shell. After, they shall continue down their tube and leave the mother's body, waiting to be hatched.

Subspecies[change | change source]

  • Pomacea diffusa,[4] spike-topped apple snail, Brazilian apple snail, golden mystery snail and ivory snail
  • Pomacea Canaliculata, (channeled apple snail)[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. Gray J.E. 1824.. "Zoological notices". The Philosophical Magazine and Journal 63: 274-277. page 276.
  2. Strong E.E. et al 2008. Global Diversity of Gastropods (Gastropoda; Mollusca) in Freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595: 149-166. http://hdl.handle.net/10088/7390 doi:10.1007/s10750-007-9012-6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hayes K.A., Cowie R.H. & Thiengo S.C. 2009. A global phylogeny of apple snails: Gondwanan origin, generic relationships, and the influence of outgroup choice (Caenogastropoda: Ampullariidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 98(1): 61-76. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2009.01246.x.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Stijn A. I. Ghesquiere. "The Apple Snail (Ampullariidae) Website".
  5. "Snail Anatomy." Facts about Snails. Infoqis Publishing, Co. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. <http://www.snail-world.com/Snail-Anatomy.html>
  6. "Snail Anatomy." Facts about Snails. Infoqis Publishing, Co. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. <http://www.snail-world.com/Snail-Anatomy.html>