Photo of the day (78): eggs of Tarantinaea lignaria

Those are egg capsules and embryos of a marine snail Tarantinaea lignaria from the family Fasciolariidae. Its synonyms are Pleuroploca lignaria  and Fasciolaria lignaria.

Egg capsules of Fasciolariidae are possible to identify to the genus level and to the species level. But majority of egg capsules of Fasciolariidae is not known.

Tarantinaea lignaria eggsThe egg capsules looks like on these photos. There is a circular opening in the middle of the cup. Newly hatched snails are escaping through the opening. There are visible embryos through the transparent wall of the capsules and there can be some few embryos inside one capsule. Exact number of embryos in one capsule was not published. It seems that this species may have a direct development.
Tarantinaea lignaria eggsThese egg capsules comes from the southern Croatia. I have taken these photos at September 28, 2016. Majority of snails hatched out already, but there are still some (live?) embryos visible in few capsules. There is also a juvenile snail on one of the capsules that probably (but not surely) belong to the same species.
Tarantinaea lignaria eggsDetail cropped from the previous photo shows a juvenile snail:
Tarantinaea lignaria eggsAnother view of the cluster of egg capsules:
Tarantinaea lignaria eggsDetail cropped from the previous photo shows two egg capsules:
Tarantinaea lignaria eggs The drawing of egg capsules of Tarantinaea lignaria is in the series on Gunnar Thorson’s collection of prosobranch egg capsules. I did not made proper measurements.

I thank to Dr. Paolo Russo from Italy for the species identification.

Gunnar Thorson (1906-1971) was professor of marine biology at the University of Copenhagen. He assembled the collection of egg capsules but he did not publish results of the whole collection by himself. Series of four monographs based on Thorson’s collection was published in 1992-2000 and it is very useful resource for anybody interested in this field.

References

D’Asaro C. N. 2000: Gunnar Thorson’s world-wide collection of prosobranch egg capsules: Fasciolariidae. Ophelia: 52(2), 77-112. DOI: 10.1080/00785236.1999.10409421

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Photo of the day (77): egg laying of Phyllidia flava

Those are two marine slugs Phyllidia flava laying eggs. This is ventral view showing the foot of snails in an aquarium. Both of them are laying a spiral ribbon of eggs:
Phyllidia flava laying eggsThis species of sea slug is orange and its eggs are also orange. But you are lucky to see its eggs so clearly like this, because it usually lays eggs on the Axinella cannabina sponge, which is also orange.

It is a “camouflage” in general. This type of camouflage, when the animal visually resemble its surrounding is called “crypsis”. It is a “visual crypsis” and the animal has “cryptic coloration”.

Detail of the bigger slug cropped from the previous photo shows the head part on the left. The slug has its genital pore on the right side of the body so the genital pore is down on the photo:
Phyllidia flava laying eggsPhyllidia flava starts the laying in the center of the spiral, of course. But some species are known to start the spiral ribbon from the outside.(!) Most nudibranchs lays the spiral ribbon in an anticlockwise direction. There are very few nudibranchs that lays egg ribbons in a clockwise direction. Phyllidia flava lays eggs in the same way as the majority of nudibranchs in an anticlockwise direction. You are seeing an underside of the egg ribbon through the transparent glass of the aquarium so the ribbon appear clockwise on these three photos.

Two egg ribbons of Phyllidia flava from underside:
Phyllidia flava egg ribbonsReferences

Rudman, W. B., 2004 (August 2) Nudibranch egg masses – the direction they spiral. Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney.

Photo of the day (75): egg capsules of Stramonita haemastoma

Those are empty egg capsules of Stramonita haemastoma.

Stramonita haemastoma is a big predatory marine snail of the family Muricidae. It inhabits coastal waters (intertidal and subtidal) up to depth of 9 meters. It is thought to be quite common in the Mediterranean Sea, but areas with low abundance exist. However it was reported that the population in Israel in Eastern Mediterranean has collapsed because of warming of the coastal waters. The subspecies living in the Mediterranean Sea is Stramonita haemastoma haemastoma.

My egg capsules of Stramonita haemastoma comes from southern Croatia. Eggs are laid in clusters to solid surface. Number of snails are laying eggs on the same place making collective spawns.

Empty egg capsules of Stramonita haemastoma attached on a valve of a bivalve Mytilus edulis. The filaments all around are byssus filaments of the bivalve:
egg capsules of Stramonita haemastomaThe spawning season was reported from late April to August. Unfertilized capsules are purple, freshly laid capsules are yellow. The egg development lasts about 20 days. But all of capsules on the photos are empty already, because I collected them in late September.

The each capsule is about 10 mm in height, 3 mm wide and 2 mm thick. Although one capsule is just 10 mm long, it contain thousands of eggs (from about 2300 eggs to about 6050 eggs). One female will deposit from 20 to 86 capsules, usually 47 capsules on average. This gives incredible number of about 200 000 eggs per one female. When are hatching larvae leaving the capsule, larvae are about 50 μm in shell height.

Detail of two egg capsules:
egg capsules of Stramonita haemastomaReferences

Lahbib Y., Abidli S. & El Menif T. N. 2011: Spawning and intracapsular development of Stramonita haemastoma haemastoma (Gastropoda: Muricidae) collected in northern Tunisia. Marine Biology Research, 7(7): 719-726. DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2011.558099.

Rilov. G. 2016: Multi-species collapses at the warm edge of a warming sea. Scientific Reports, 6: article number: 36897. DOI: 10.1038/srep36897.

Photo of the day (74): eggs of Arion obesoductus

This is a cluster of eggs of a land slug Arion obesoductus.

It was laid by a specimen, that I captured in central Moravia at October 26, 2017. I captured only one slug and it later laid this cluster of four eggs in captivity. At least two slugs successfully developed and hatched out from these eggs.

I am not sure if there are any informations available about the life cycle of Arion obesoductus. I do not know if laying of four eggs is a rule or exception. Arion obesoductus is a small slug with a maximum body length of 25 mm. So laying clusters with small number of eggs makes sense. Otherwise these eggs looks like any other eggs of slugs from the Arionidae family as well as similar to eggs of many other land gastropods.

The cluster of eggs at December 13, 2017:
eggs of Arion obesoductus

The same cluster of eggs at December 18, 2017:
eggs of Arion obesoductus

References

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Photo of the day (54): eggs of Ancylus fluviatilis

Adults of freshwater gastropod Ancylus fluviatilis have a cap-like shell. But shells of its embryos are a bit different. You can find eggs of Ancylus fluviatilis in spring and in early summer on stones in streams. I found these eggs in northern Bohemia in June.

Eggs are laid in capsules. There are 9-12 eggs in each capsule.

egg capsules of Ancylus fluviatilisThere can be seen foot, eyes and tentacles under stereo microscope easily in this state of development. There are also ribs on the shell, that resemble ribs of some Patella species to me. I have taken the photo in situ.

eggs of Ancylus fluvitilisI found no images of eggs of Ancylus fluviatilis for comparison on the internet after a brief search.

References

Species summary for Ancylus fluviatilis. AnimalBase, last change 26 October 2013, accessed 8 July 2016.

Streit B. (1976). Energy flow in four different field populations of Ancylus fluviatilis (Gastropoda-Basommatophora). Oecologia, 22(3): 261-273.

Embryonic development of Bithynia tentaculata

Bithynia tentaculata is a well known freshwater snail from the family Bithyniidae. It occurs in the Palearctic. Females lay eggs and the development lasts few weeks depending on the water temperature. It hatch after 12-14 days at the temperature 25 °C (Cather & Verdonk 1974). I had temperature 26 °C in my aquarium, so my snails hatched out in the 12th day.

This is how they look like shortly before hatching:

Bithynia tentaculata eggsEggs are usually laid in two rows. There is seen a bit compressed shape of eggs, when you will look out from the side view:

Bithynia tentaculataIt will go though the cleavage, blastula, gastrula in the first two days. This very early development was studied by various scientists (Erlanger 1892, Van Dam 1986).

Day 1:

Bithynia tentaculata

Day 2:

Bithynia tentaculata

Day 3:

Bithynia tentaculata

Then it will form a radula, shell, nervous system, tentacles, ctenidium, heart, foot, snout and other organs. The shell is translucent, so if you would watch the embryo in the microscope, then there would be ctenidium and heart easily recognisable.

Day 4:

Bithynia tentaculata

Day 5:

Bithynia tentaculata

Day 6:

Bithynia tentaculata

Day 7:

Bithynia tentaculata

There is clearly visible a shell by naked eye since the seventh day.

Day 8:

Bithynia tentaculata

Eyes, foot, head and snout are clearly recognizable.

Day 9:

Bithynia tentaculata

Day 10:

Bithynia tentaculata

Tentacles are visible easily.

Day 11:

Bithynia tentaculata

Day 12 – hatching:

Bithynia tentaculata

The first hatched snails:

Bithynia tentaculata

The diameter of hatching snails is 1.2 mm and their weight is 0.25 mg (Negus 1998).

Day 13:

Bithynia tentaculataThere left only empty egg cases and incorrectly developed embryos in the 13th day.

So this is a brief insight how Bithynia tentaculata develops and how you can see it by naked eye or by magnifying lens. But it is a worth to use microscope.

When it will be lucky and if no predator will eat the juvenile snail, it will grow into a snail like this:

Bithynia tentaculataReferences

Cather J. N. & Verdonk N. H. (1974). “The development of Bithynia tentaculata (Prosobranchia, Gastropoda) after removal of the polar lobe“. Journal of embryology and experimental morphology, 31(2): 415-422.

Erlanger R. (1892). “Beiträge zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Gastropoden”. Mittheilungen aus der Zoologischen Station zu Neapel 10: 376-404.  Plate 25-26.

Negus M. R. (1998). “A Life Table for the fresh water mollusc Bithynia tentaculata (L.)”. Journal of Biological Education, 32(1): 14-23, DOI:
10.1080/00219266.1998.9655588 abstract

Van Dam W. I. (1986). “Embryonic development of Bithynia tentaculata L. (Prosobranchia, Gastropoda). I. Cleavage”. Journal of Morphology 188(3): 289-302. DOI: 10.1002/jmor.1051880304 abstract

Photo of the day (49): Ambigolimax valentianus

Ambigolimax valentianus is a land slug from the family Limacidae. Its native distribution includes Iberian Peninsula only, but it is spreading in many other countries as an invasive species. It can live in greenhouses and similar habitats in cold areas only. It lives in greenhouses in Central Europe too. It is a pest in greenhouses and it is able to overpopulate and then it can be a serious pest. It can reach the length up to 70 mm.

Various views of the slug:

Ambigolimax valentianus

Ambigolimax valentianus

Ambigolimax valentianus

Ambigolimax valentianusThe foot is light gray:

Ambigolimax valentianusThere exist two forms of Ambigolimax valentianus: a form with two dark lateral bands and a a spotted form. The spotted form looks like this. It looks a bit yellow on the photo, but it is caused by the sunglight.

Ambigolimax valentianusIts eggs look like this. I found those eggs below the bowl for the potted plant.

Ambigolimax valentianusNotice the juvenile slug in the front. It is interesting that its egss will not survive temperatures above 33 °C.

A juvenile slug:

Ambigolimax valentianusAnother photo with juvenile slugs:

Ambigolimax valentianusThis species is also known as Lehmannia valentiana. In fact I did not known, that it could be placed in the genus Ambigolimax up today.

So I searched for reasons of its generic placement:

Klee et al. found out based on molecular phylogeny research of cytochrome-c oxidase I (COI) genes, that the genus Lehmannia is diphyletic in 2005. She also repeated the information in her thesis in 2013.

Rowson et al. confirmed such placement also according to the COI genes analysis in 2014. By the way, they did not comment this species in the PLoS article anyhow. They just shown the cladogram on the figure 5.

The results are:

Lehmannia marginata (O. F. Müller, 1774) still belong to the genus Lehmannia Heynemann, 1863, because it is the type species of the genus.

Lehmannia valentiana (Férussac, 1822) belong to the genus Ambigolimax Pollonera, 1887 as a Ambigolimax valentiana (Férussac, 1822). It is the type species of the genus Ambigolimax.

Lehmannia nyctelia (Bourguignat, 1861) also belong to the genus Ambigolimax as Ambigolimax nyctelius (Bourguignat, 1861).

There is a question, where will belong other 13 European species of Lehmannia. Especially those ones, whose reproductive system is not known.

References

Horsák M., Dvořák L. & Juřičková L. (2004) Greenhouse gastropods of the Czech Republic: current stage of research. Malacological Newsletter, 22: 141–147, page 143.

Horsák M., Juřičková L. & Picka J. (2013) Měkkýši České a Slovenské republiky. Molluscs of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Kabourek, Zlín, 264 pp. (in Czech and English). page 163.

Klee B., Falkner G. & Haszprunar G (2005). Endemic radiations of Limax (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora) slugs in Corsica – they came twice. In: Burckhardt D (ed.), 8. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für biologische Systematik, Basel 13.-16. September 2005, Abstracts of talks and posters: p.78. Basel (Naturhistorisches Museum). Organisms Diversity and Evolution 5, Electr. Suppl. 13: 75.

Nitz. B. (2013). Integrative systematics and biogeography of Limax (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora). Dissertation Thesis, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München, 133 pp., page 105.

Rowson B., Anderson R., Turner J. & Symondson W. O. C. (2014). The slugs of Britain and Ireland: undetected and undescribed species increase a well-studied, economically important fauna by more than 20%. PLoS ONE 9(4): e91907. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091907

Stojnić B., Vukša M., Jokić G. & Čkrkić M. (2011). First record of introduced valencia slug, Lehmannia valentiana (Férussac, 1822), in Serbia. Pesticidi i fitomedicina, 26(3): 213–220. doi:10.2298/PIF1103213S

Udaka H., Mori M., Goto S. G. & Numata H. (2007). Seasonal reproductive cycle in relation to tolerance to high temperatures in the terrestrial slug Lehmannia valentiana. Invertebrate Biology, 126(2): 154–162.

Photo of the day (47): Lithoglyphus naticoides

Lithoglyphus naticoides is a freshwater snail. Its distribution is Pontic and Danubian.

Shells from my collection comes from Danube river in Slovakia. The apertural view of the shell looks like this. The width of the shell is 8.5 mm and the height of the shell is 8.5 mm:

shell of Lithoglyphus naticoidesOblique view of the same shell:

an oblique view of the shell of Lithoglyphus naticoidesIt lives on the muddy bottom, and it can not lay egg capsules on stones. Therefore is lay egg capsules on shells of other Lithoglyphus naticoides snails. Remains of egg capsules on the shell of Lithoglyphus naticoides:

the shell of Lithoglyphus naticoides with egg capsulesthe shell of Lithoglyphus naticoides with egg capsulesDried egg capsules that have a dried embryo inside:

the shell of Lithoglyphus naticoides with egg capsulesthe shell of Lithoglyphus naticoides with egg capsulesthe shell of Lithoglyphus naticoides with egg capsules

The width of the following shell is 7.0 mm and the height of the shell is 7.0 mm.

apertural view of the shell of Lithoglyphus naticoidesapical view of the shell of Lithoglyphus naticoideslateral view of the shell of Lithoglyphus naticoidesumbilical view of the shell of Lithoglyphus naticoidesI wanted to see a color photo of an operculum of Lithoglyphus naticoides, but I found color drawings on the internet only and black-and-white photo of an operculum in books. So I made few photos of an operculum of Lithoglyphus naticoides.

The width of the operculum is 3.0 mm and the height of the operculum is 4.0 mm. It is the operculum from the shell above. Outer side of the operculum:

outer side of an operculum of Lithoglyphus naticoidesInner side of the operculum:

inner side of an operculum of Lithoglyphus naticoidesReferences

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