The Vertigo pygmaea, like most snails is primarily a scavenger feeder.  This means they will eat what ever they can find on the surface that they are on.  In general, snails will eat all kinds of decaying plants, algae and fungus' in order to get the proper nutrition.

Vertigo pygmaea utilizes the structure called the radula which in Latin is derived from the word rādere which means "scrape." This effectively describes the function of this structure.  Sometimes called the "rasping tongue," this organ allows the snail to detach their food source to the substrate in order to get nutrients from it.

After the food is broken down by the radula, it is then taken in by the mouth where the salivary glands secrete the saliva which will break down all of the carbohydrates like the starches and sugars.  The saliva of the snail will also condense the food into a pulp which will be transported into the gullet easier.  Once the food reaches the stomach, digestive enzymes will break up the remaining carbohydrates as well as proteins and lipids.  Along with the digestive enzymes there are symbiotic bacteria cultures in the snails body that will help break down the cellulose consumed which comes from plant material.  Broken down food is then absorbed and passed through the intestines and out the anus located near the front of the organism because of torsion.

As mentioned in the Habitat section, the Vertigo pygmaea has an opened circulatory system.  This simply means that they do not have capillaries and veins like mammals have.  Instead the blood is dumped into a cavity called a hemocoel which means blood cavity.  The blood is then washed over the tissues and drained back into the gills and then the heart.  This type of system is not as effective as the closed circulatory system and primarily seen in slow moving organisms.

Information on nutrition found in (The Living World of Mollusks 2011) and the radula structure found in (Paganelli, et al 2011)

Lets see how this snail species reproduces in the Reproduction section.

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