Scientists host 3-day snail rave

As part of an effort to understand the spread of a potentially deadly canine parasite, researchers at the University of Exeter put LEDs and glow-in-the-dark paint on 450 garden snails and proceeded to film them over the course of 72 hours.

The result is kind of gorgeous and mesmerizing, as tiny points of colored light meander in time lapse through the snails' natural habitat.

Besides the trippy display of gastropod activity, the researchers also learned interesting things: Like the fact that snails can cover as much as 82 feet in a day, and some snails save energy while traveling by using the slime trails left by others.

The researchers, led by Dr Dave Hodgson, Associate Professor of Ecology at the University of Exeter found that snails will travel distances of up to 25 metres in a 24-hour period, and seek out areas of shelter, such as long grass, trees or objects, including dogs' toys, left in the garden overnight. The four researchers from Exeter University also discovered that snails move in convoys, piggy-backing on the slime of other snails to conserve energy. It is thought that a snail could use up to 30 per cent of its energy in slime production alone.

The study was commissioned by the Be Lungworm Aware campaign as a resource for dog owners, whose pets are at risk from a potentially fatal parasite spread by slugs and snails, the lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum. The parasite is contracted when dogs accidentally swallow even the smallest slugs or snails, which can be found in dog toys, puddles and long grass.

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Via This Is Colossal

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