2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference


A Behavioral Study of Swimming by Freshwater Snails (Physa acuta and Physa gyrina)
Julie A. Anderson* and Leah A. Allman
Dr. George L. Shinn, Faculty Mentor

The locomotion of freshwater snails typically involves slow crawling over substrates. They move more or less continuously because they graze on the bottom of their aquatic environment and must periodically surface in order to refill their lung with air. We have found that freshwater snails in the genus Physa sometimes “swim” through the open water. By observing snails kept in aquaria, we were able to identify five types of open-water movements, including the following: quick ascents, slow ascents, quick descents, slow descents, and hovering. The slow ascents, slow descents and hovering appear to involve physiologically controlled alterations of their buoyancy. We are testing the hypothesis that snails swim rather than crawl in order to conserve energy under conditions of low oxygen concentration.

Keywords: snails, Physa, invertebrates, swimming


Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 29-58
Location: OP Lobby & Atrium
Time: 1:15

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