Some sea snails soak through water by flapping their squid appendages similar to butterfly wings – now, scientists have discovered that the shape of snail shells also helps them zip through the ocean.
New study, published on 7 September in the journal Frontiers in Marine ScienceShows that large snails with thin, elongated shells cut through the water more quickly than smaller snails with round, coiled shells. Small snails, due to their short wings, swim at a slow pace, but their size and speed also make it so that they cannot easily overcome resistance from the surrounding waters, author David Murphy, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Study of the University of South Florida told Live Science in an email. “Large snails can easily overcome the effects of this viscosity,” or resistance to water flow, and those streamlined shells bite through the water even more easily, he said.
Streamlined snails slip through the water like how an airplane wing rotates through the air.
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While larger snails swim more quickly than smaller ones, all nine snail species that the authors studied travel the same distance when searching for food, According to a statement. Snails, which measure approximately 0.03 to 0.5 inches (0.9 to 13.1 millimeters) in length, travel between 162 and 984 feet (50 to 300 meters) each day, swimming towards the sky at night to feed on the surface And sink to rest below. day.
While swimming, snails can cover between one and 24 body lengths per second, growing in a jig-zagging spiral; When done for the night, they sink at slight angles, descending with equal speed. Large snails slide gracefully through the water as they sink, due to their enlarged shells.
Seven of the snail species included in the study are known as “sea butterflies” for their flapping wings; In previous research, Murphy and his colleagues found that sea butterflies flapped their wings in a figure-eight pattern, similar to the movement of fruit flies, and called the creatures “honorary pests”. Live science first told.
Murphy and his lab study animals that fly both in and out of water, and they plan to design small aquatic and aerial vehicles inspired by different organisms, Murphy said. The vehicles “can be used in many different applications. For example, they can take data under the surface of the water and then pop back to transmit data in the air,” he said.
Originally published on Live Science.