This Snail Flies Through The Water

Posted: Feb 19 2016, 4:29am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

This Snail Flies Through the Water
This is a time lapse picture of a seabutterfly at different stages of a wing beat. Credit: David Murphy
  • Strange and Weird New Snail that Flies through the Water

A strange and weird new snail has been discovered that flies through the water like an insect.

While most snails slog along on their sole muscular foot, a new species termed the sea butterfly actually flies instead of undergoing any slogging. Sea butterflies are tiny marine molluscs that swim around in the Arctic region.

They have small wings that arise from the shells and help them flit from one place to another in the cold environment. In the beginning very scant knowledge was extant regarding how they actually moved about. Now though we know better.

The majority of zooplankton employ a paddle-like drag-based system of locomotion. The movements of these sea butterflies were observed in the form of a video back in 2003.

The fluid environment that surrounded them could not be deciphered at first in connection to their movements. A 3D system was built to envision the movements of sea butterflies.

As the little creatures swam about from one place to another, their actions were noted down and the study was published in a journal.

The sea butterflies were brought in to reservoirs in Atlanta. It was a precarious operation since these gelatin-based sea creatures are fragile and don’t take to environments other than their own.

The little critters have to be transported in coolers and the water must be very clean otherwise dirt will collect on their surface. An arrangement was made for these small wonders to swim through a V-shaped structure at the bottom of the tank.

There four special cameras were implanted to take pics of them as they zipped through the water. The movements of their wings was not an easy thing to catch on camera. Time was limited too.

Luckily the snails swam several times through the V-shaped structure. The result was some very clear pictures of these wonderful animals in the course of their daily business of living life.

The beating of the small snails’ wings underwater was captured with accuracy and precision. It was a moment of joy for the researchers. Imagine the surprise of the onlookers when they saw that the snails swim through the water just like fruit flies tend to fly through the air.

The wing strokes were like those of an insect. Nature is always full of shocking facts just waiting to be discovered by man.

The wings made a skater’s figure of eight movement everytime they beat in time to the natural rhythm. It is like an insect’s flying movements but the fact that it is apparent in a sea creature is truly bizarre.

This discovery has been reported in Journal of Experimental Biology.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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