Appalachina chilhoweensis (J. Lewis, 1870) Queen Crater


Unfortunately there is not much knowledge about the nutrition of the Appalachina chilhoweensis specifically, but we still can look the process of nutrition acquisition of most terrestrial land snails.


The variety of terrestrial snail’s diet is fairly wide usually consisting of plants, fungi,  and animal matter (Carnegie, 2009). As for the A. chilhoweensis, we know that as part of the Class Gastropoda so it is a herbivore (Hickman,2009), and that as part of the Family Polygyridae so it means that their food source is chiefly the mycelia of fungi (Pilsbry, 1940). Terrestrial snails have to take advantage of all types of food sources that are in the path of their movement due to the difficulty to travel long distances.  Most of the time however, terrestrial snails are sessile and are usually only moving when looking for a food source (Hickman, 2009)

The best time for terrestrial snail’s to be on the move looking for food is during the night time, when the evaporation rate is lower allowing the mucus that snails lay down to help with movement to be more effiecent (Carnegie, 2009).  Once terrestrial snails are on the movement looking to acquire food, they use their chemorecptors on their four tentacles in analogous way mammals use their nose to locate food (Carnegie, 2009).

Once food is located, a snail will touch it with its mouth and foot which are used to “taste” the food source. It will then use its radula to begin rasping at the food source to move it towards their esophagus (Carnegie, 2009). Radula’s can vary in shape and use depending on the type of  habitats certain snails are found in, but most terrestrial snails have a radula with a chitin membrane that is coarse like sandpaper for scraping at food (Carnegie, 2009).  As the food is scraped off the food source it moves down the esophagus by muscular contractions (Carnegie, 2009). There are saliva glands that begin to break down the food as it moves into the gastric pouch (Carnegie, 2009).  

The Appalachina chilhoweensis is also found among the leaf litter like common terrestrial snails due to the amount of food and protection from drying out that the leaf litter provides(Carnegie, 2009). The A. chilhoweensis use the same type of locomotion as common a terrestrial snail, which allows us to make a reasonable comparison between the common terrestrial snail’s behavior to acquire food to the A. chilhoweensis.


 It would be interesting to do further research on the A. chilhoweensis' behavior to acquire food, because of the semi-dry air located high up in the Appalachian Mountains. The A. chilhoweensis could perhaps have modified mucus that dries slower and a coarser radula to improve the efficiency of movement and eating compared to many terrestrial snails that live in environments with more moisture.



Next we will look at the reproduction of the Appalachina chilhoweensis!!!


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