While no specific nutrition habits were found about Mesodon altivagus, general nutritional practices of Pulmonates are also apparent in M. altivagus.


A majority of the Pulmonates eat a wide range of organic matter, such as plants and leaves, bark, and fungi, such as mushrooms (Dourson, 2010). Calcium carbonate from limestone is also needed in their diet to carry out necessary body functions, reproducing, and even shell construction (Dourson, 2010). Additionally, captive Mesodon snails were able to survive on lettuce, oats, and even fish food (Örstan, 2006). Depending on what food was being consumed, snail feeding was found to last various times, ranging from a couple of minutes to an hour (Dourson, 2010).


In order to obtain their food, the land snails have a specialized radula used for scraping or rasping bits of food (Dourson, 2010). The radula is covered with teeth made of chitin that carry the food particles, with the help of saliva, into the esophagus to begin digestion (Hotopp et al., 2006). Digestive juices are then used to begin the breakdown of food into the gastric pouch, which is connected to the digestive gland that serves similar functions as the human liver (Hotopp et al., 2006). Exiting the gastric pouch, the food passes through the intestine and finally the undigested food is eliminated through the anal pore (Hotopp et al., 2006).


Microscopic view of the chitinous teeth of a snail radula



View of a snail radula



Similar species in the Mesodon genus have been observed in their nutritional habits, such as a 1996 study on Mesodon normalis. They were observed feeding on bark, lichens, soil, and especially fungi, such as mushrooms (Foster et al., 1996). Occasionally, they were even found eating the decaying bodies of other animals including millipedes, beetles, and other snails (Foster et al., 1996). Comparatively, another study involving Mesodon thyroidus observed the preference of food the snail preferred (Wolf et al., 1939). It was found that M. thyroidus significantly preferred feeding on fungi instead of the cabbage or any other specimen that contained chlorophyll (Wolf et al., 1939). With the close relation between M. thyroidus, M. normalis, and M. altivagus, we can assume that Mesodon altivagus shares similar nutritional habits therefore predicting that it is mainly mycophagous by mainly feeding off of fungal material (Wolf et al., 1939).

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