Feeds

Hitchhiking snails scoffed, pooped out alive by birds

Gastro-pod birdshit paratroopers conquer new territories

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Scientists have discovered that certain species of Japanese snail can not only survive being eaten and then excreted by birds, they actually benefit from the process in many cases by finding themselves deposited in new uncropped habitats.

The revelations were uncovered by scientifically feeding Japanese white-eye or mejiro birds with the tiny land snail Tornatellides boeningi in lab tests. A surprisingly high proportion of the snails, some 15 per cent, survived the process, solving a knotty conundrum which has left the Japanese snail-boffinry community baffled until now.

"Biogeography of wingless terrestrial invertebrates, in particular snails, is often faced with mysterious long distance dispersal patterns that can only be explained by hand waving arguments involving birds' feet or guts or cyclones," Shinichiro Wada, one of the investigating experts, tells the BBC.

Now it appears that the hardy gastropods are in fact travelling inside the birds rather than on them: the elite few who survive the avian gastric process being deposited – perhaps as part of a beneficial rain of fertiliser from high altitude – in pastures new.

According to Wada, one of the snails in the study actually gave birth shortly after experiencing the perils of bird-borne transit. It's thought that just one small bird can carry a large number of the tiny 2.5mm snails at once, permitting a fair few to arrive alive at their destination.

Full details of the study are published in the Journal of Biogeography. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial
And NASA kept evidence to itself for over a month
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years
ETs, habitable planets will soon pop up with our new 'scopes
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.