The name snail applies to most members of the molluscan Class Gastropoda that have coiled shells. Other gastropods, which lack a conspicuous shell, are commonly called slugs, and are scattered throughout groups that primarily include snails. Snails are found in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial environments. While most people are familiar with only terrestrial snails, the majority of snails are not terrestrial. Snails with lungs belong to the group Pulmonata, while those with gills belong to the Snails move like worms by alternating body contractions with stretching, with a proverbially low speed (hence the term snail mail for postal services). They produce mucus in order to aid locomotion by reducing friction. The mucus also reduces the snail's risk of injury and helps keep away potentially dangerous insects like ants. When retracted into their shells, snails cover the entrance with a 'trapdoor' like structure called an operculum.













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In winter some snail species hibernate in their shells by closing the opening with a thin shell-like plate that they build only for this use and destroy in spring. Even some slug species build a shell-like object below their upper skin. Snails come in a range of different sizes. The largest land snail is the Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica; Family Achatinidae), which can measure up to 30cm. Pomacea maculata (Family Ampullariidae), or Giant Apple Snail is the largest freshwater snail, with its size reaching 15 cm diameter and over 600 g weight. The biggest of all snails is Syrinx aruanus, a marine species living in Australia. Shell lengths up to 1 m have been reported.

Images 1 to 3 Are Courtesy Of The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Image Number 4 Courtesy Of The National Undersea Research Program
Image Number 5 Comes From pdphoto.org
Image Number 6 Is Courtesy Of The U.S.D.A.




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