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Snails & Slugs


Gastropods, or Snails and Slugs, are a large class of invertebrates in the phylum Mollusca. There are thousands upon thousands of Sea Snails and Slugs across a diverse range of habitats. The word “Gastropod” is derived from the Greek words that translate to “Stomach” and “Foot.” This is likely referring to their feet being positioned below the gut.

Sea Angel-Featured
Blue Sea (or Dragon) Slug Clickable
By Sylke Rohrlach from Sydney - Blue dragon-glaucus atlanticus, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Queen Conch (Lobatus_gigas) Clickable
By Daniel Neal from Sacramento, CA, US - Queen Conch (Strombus gigas), CC BY 2.0,
Sea Angels Clickable
By רפאל גורי - I did this photo, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Blue Sea Slug Graphic
By Glaucus_atlanticus_1.jpg: Taro Taylor from Sydney, Australiaderivative work: dapete - Glaucus_atlanticus_1.jpg, CC BY 2.0,

Size – There is a wide range of sizes in this class.

Gastropods generally have a very well defined head, typically with some sort of protrusion, and have 2-4 tentacles with eyes.

They also have a ventral foot, which is behind the Greek meaning, stomach foot. Many Snails and Slugs are brightly colored and unique in appearance.

From the Tropics to the Arctic, you can find Snails and Slugs nearly everywhere. They have adapted to pretty much every possible habitat you can imagine. You can even find many in the deepest parts of the sea near the hydrothermal vents.

Many Gastropods enjoy scraping algae off of rocks, but there are many different diets among this class. Some are herbivores, some are carnivores. There are also scavengers, parasites, and some are predatory.

They use their muscular foot below the gut to move, or creep, slowly. The term for this is “locomotion.” For some, this is modified for swimming or burrowing.

There are an estimated 80,000 species in this diverse class. Gastropods belong to the Phylum Mollusca. There are believed to be around 475 living families of Snails and Slugs.

For more details on the families, species, and additional info on the classification – Check out this link!