Nutrition and Internal Functions

     As being apart of the Polygyridae family it is assumed the diet of Neohelix major is very similar to the rest of the family. According to Perez et al., the Polygyrids typically snack on mycelia, which is the vegetative part of fungi and they can also live on plant materials. In fact, when these snails are held in captivity they can live off of vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes (2008).
                                          Neohelix major from Photo by Bill Frank

     According to Hickman et al., the primary organ used for catching food and begin digestion is the radula. As you can see in the image below, the radula is a tongue like organ and it is used to rasp or scrape. Much like a tongue, it can be moved in and out of the mouth, however, unlike the tongue, it can have up to 250,000 chitinous teeth implanted on it. these teeth can also be used to tear or cut small pieces of food. It then pulls the food into the mouth and then carries food directly toward the digestive tract (2012).
                                             diagram of the radula from wikipedia

     The digestive tract of Neohelix major is complex, as with any mollusk. However, the specialization of the digestive tract depends on the feeding habits of each species (Hickman et al. 2012).

     Neohelix major is a terrestrial snail and there for breathes using lungs. It also has a mantle, which is the tissue that covers the organs in the body and is hidden under the shell (Perez et al. 2008), and is where gas exchange occurs in addition to the lungs (Hickman et al. 2012).

     According to Hickman et al., much like other slow moving animals, snails, and therefore Neohelix major, has an open circulatory system. In an open circulatory system, blood is only partially contained in blood vessels. In other areas, blood flows through open sinuses. The reason most organisms don't have an open circulatory system is because it is less efficient and not very good at supplying oxygen to all body tissues in a timely fashion (2012).


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