Researchers in Japan discovered that snails can transport from one place to another via birds’ guts. This discovery led scientists to know the answer of how different snail populations made contact despite their geographical isolation.
T. boeningi is the most common species of snail on Hahajima
The Japanese white-eye
This evidence suggests that bird predation could be a key factor in how snail populations spread.
Previous research has shown that pond snails can survive being eaten by fish but the same was not known for land snails.
In the lab scientists fed the birds with the snails to find out whether any survived the digestive process.
“We were surprised that a high rate, about 15 percent, of snails were still alive after passing through the gut of [the] birds,” explained researcher Shinichiro Wada.
Shinichiro Wada Tohoku University, Japan
“This is the first study showing that birds can indeed transport a substantial [number of] micro land snails in their gut alive.”
The main factor allowing the snails to survive being eaten is their small size, according to the scientists. [via BBC Nature]