What are the body parts of a Cepaea snail?
- Tentacles: Two retractable pairs, on the upper surface of the snail's head, used to help the snail feel things. The eyes are located at the tips of the upper, long pair of tentacles; the lower pair are concerned with smell.
- Respiratory pore: A small hole in the side of the body, used for breathing
- Mouth: On the underside of the head, it contains the radula, a file-like tongue that breaks down the snail's food
- Shell lip: The edge of the shell
- Foot: The soft, muscular part of the snail that allows the snail to move
- Shell: The hard, spiral, protective covering of the snail
- Shell apex: The tip of the shell
What is the life cycle of a Cepaea snail?
The two species of Cepaea have very similar life-cycles. Generally they hibernate in the winter, mate around May time and lay their eggs in the summer. They take approximately three years to become adult.
How do Cepaea snails reproduce?
Snails are hermaphrodites, meaning that every individual has both male and female reproductive systems, but snails still have to mate in order to be fertile.
How long do Cepaea snails live for?
Once snails are adults they can live for several years. They are not classed as adults until they have developed a lip to the shell.
What and how do Cepaea snails eat?
Snails generally eat plants; they also eat algae and decaying matter and form an important part of the food web. They have thousands of tiny teeth which are located on a ribbon like tongue called a radula. This works like a file and rips the food to bits. Cepaea snails usually only eat dead and decaying vegetation.
What eats Cepaea snails?
Snails have many predators including song thrushes and bigger birds like magpies. Shrews, mice, rats and hedgehogs also eat them as well as insects including the glow worm and some beetles.
The best known predator of Cepaea is the song thrush. They are not capable of crushing snails on their own or swallowing them whole with the shell. Song thrushes therefore have to smash the snail shell on a rock or stony surface to get at the snail inside. These pieces of rock are known as anvils and can be easily recognised by the shell fragments lying around them.