The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Oct 03, 2012
 

Snails, not just lizards, can shed their tails

 
 

TOKYO (AFP) - Snails that can shed their tails to escape much faster-moving predators and then regrow the amputated body section have been discovered living in sub-tropical Japan, a study said on Wednesday.

The ability to shed body parts, similar to that found in lizards, crabs and earthworms, has never before been seen in a land-dwelling snail.

Mr Masaki Hoso, a Netherlands-based fellow with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, posted the findings on his website on Wednesday, as his paper was published in the British science journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Mr Hoso experimented with "isshikimaimai" snails that live on the Okinawan islands by feeding them to predator snakes, "It was found that isshikimaimai often escaped predation by detaching their own tails" before hiding themselves inside their shells, he said on his website, adding the cut-off sections were regenerated "a few weeks later".