Inflectarius ferrissi - Smoky Mountain Covert



Within the Gastropoda class many modifications have developed in order to enhance abilities to obtain food and proper nutrition.  For example, all gastropods have a developed radula, often described as a tongue-like organ, that functions by scraping off food from surfaces to be ingested (Hickman et al., 2009).  Along with the radula, land snails have a highly complex digestive system to absorb nutrients necessary to function (Hickman et al., 2009).  After the food is taken in by the radula, it is passed down the esophagus and ultimately into the gastric pouch where digestion takes place (Hotopp, 2005).  Attached to the gastric pouch is the digestive gland, which assists in breaking down food (Hotopp, 2005).     

Land snails also have an open circulatory system consisting of a pumping heart and only partially contained hemolymphPair of Patera clarki nantahala feeding.  Taken by Dick Biggins. (Hickman et al., 2009).  Hemolymph, the equivalent of our blood, is flowing freely over the organs and poorly distributes nutrients (Hickman et al., 2009).    With an open circulatory system, oxygen is not efficiently distributed to tissues and causes the inability to make quick movements (Hickman et al., 2009).  This completely explain why snails have such a famous reputation for slow movements.  Now that we have a better understanding of how land snails obtain, break down, and distribute nutrients, we can begin to discuss what is preferably consumed to satisfy these functions.    

The diet of Inflectarius ferrissi mainly consists of plants, fungi, and decaying organic matter (Solem, 1955).  Similarly to other terrestrial snails, I. ferrissi consumes a greater variety of food ranging from tree sap to a large selection of vegitation (Dourson, 2006).   

 For most terrestrial snails, plants serve as the primary food source, however, a wide variety of food is also consumed (Hotopp, 2005).  This variety can be attributed to land snail’s generalists behavior and part-time role as a decomposer (Hotopp, 2005).  Unlike most animals, terrestrial snails are interesting in the fact that they are very willing to try new things (Hotopp, 2005).  Sampling and tasting new food sources that they just happen to come across in their path (Hotopp, 2005).   Although most are herbivores, some species are carnivores, using their radula to prey on other molluscs by tearing off flesh (Gillis,  2012). 


Inflectarius ferrissi Reproduction