A team of researchers recently observed the presence of unusual snails in caves of the southern peninsula of Europe. During this excavation, they managed to identify 57 populations of gastropods in different caves.
Scientists have been intrigued by snails whose physical appearance has never been seen before. This new species definitely stands out with its transparent build as well as its particularly sharp and imposing teeth.
Even if teeth are not often, if at all, assimilated to mollusks such as snails, these animals nevertheless do have them. However, their teeth are only visible under a microscope and differ from one species to another.
Snails have teeth!
Over time, the mode of feeding snails has evolved in order to adapt to their environments. Today’s land snails eat everything, they are herbivores, omnivores, detritivores and even carnivores. In fact, their diet is extremely varied, ranging from plants to other snails. . For food, these gastropods have a flexible serrated membrane , known as “radula”.
Although the teeth of ‘snails are extremely resistant , they wear out very easily due to excessive use. As a compensation, however, these mollusks have several rows of teeth placed on a flexible muscular organ. Therefore, they have the possibility to renew them as they wish.
These dentitions are unique to each species. Therefore, it is an important identifying characteristic in these gastropods.
Snails that have evolved otherwise?
At first glance, scientists were overwhelmed by the anatomy of these weird mouthed mollusks . Not only are snails almost transparent, they also have large rows of sharp teeth. Thus, by analyzing their genetics, the researchers concluded that these snails belonged to a new species named Iberozospeum.
These snails were found in the Iberian Peninsula, where they would have found refuge during the ice age from the Pleistocene. According to zoologist Adrienne Jochum, these snails evolved differently due to the substrates of these caves.
“The teeth of species in some habitats are significantly harder than those of others, which shows how closely the mechanical properties of the radula correlate with the properties of the substrate and food. . ”
Wencke Krings, zoologist at the University of Hamburg