More about the mud snail
The mud snail eats mainly diatoms,
bacteria and other microorganisms. Sometimes they eat parts of plants,
but they usually only utilize microorganisms. Plant parts can be extruded
from the intestines unaltered. Quite quickly a new growth of microorganisms
appears that they are able to eat.
Tracks can be easily seen in the bottom sediment showing
where the mud snail has been eating. Mud snails also have the ability
to dig down into the sediment when it becames drained (i.e. low tide)
or too cold.
Eats under a raft
Apart from creeping about on the bottom,
the mud snail can also secrete a raft of mucus that floats on the water
surface. On this raft nutritive substances and bacteria form. The mud
snail creeps on the underside of its raft while it eats the bacteria.
Mud snails move quite slowly, but when it creeps on the
surface of its mucus raft, it can, with the help of water currents cover
large distances. Mud snails can even be swept with the currents while
creeping on the bottom.
Mud snails even eat blue-green bacteria, microscopic diatoms
and large algae such as sea-lettuce.
Many die during the winter
During the winter many mud snails die.
The hazards are many: hunger, ice, cold, lack of oxygen and being thrown
up onto the beach. After such a wholesale death, the sand
on the beach can be composed entirely of empty shells. Those mud snails
that survive hardly grow during the winter. Only during the spring (April-May)
do they start growing again.
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