The volcano snail, also called Chrysomallon squamiferum, scaly foot snail/gastropod, sea pangolin, magma snail, and lava snail, is the most metallic of all the snail species. They reside two miles beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean, where boiling lava is erupting from the earth.
Where Do the Volcano Snails Live?
The depths of the Indian Ocean are the only place on Earth where this mollusk may be found. specifically, close to three hydrothermal vents in the deep sea. Which are:
- Kairei vent field
- Longqi vent field
- Solitaire vent field
The population of the sea pangolin, also known as the scaly foot snail, is less numerous at the Kairei hydrothermal vent field than it is at the Longqi undersea vent field. In the Central Indian ridge, Kairei is located at a height of 2,415 to 2,460 meters, or 7,923 to 8,071 feet.
Deep-sea mining corporations are attacking these vents as they search for mineral and other compound reserves on the sea floor and in other deep-sea sites. As a result, the volcanic snail was listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List in 2019.
What Do the Volcano Snails Look Like?
The three whorls on the scaly foot snail’s shell make it appear pretty normal, yet the shell is actually highly distinctive. There are three distinct layers of the armor. Most snail shells are composed of the organic periostracum that makes up the central layer. Aragonite, a carbonate mineral, makes up the interior armor layer, which is located close to the snail’s body. The outer layer, which is rich in iron sulfides, has astounded scientists and researchers at academic institutions.
The scaly-foot snail (also known as the volcanic snail) has a shell that is distinct, but it also has a foot that differs greatly from other snail species. These mineralized iron sulfides solidify in the bottom and on the sidewalls, forming substances known as sclerites. A functioning science and technology experiment is this snail with the armor on!
How Big Can the Deep Sea Volcano Snails Get?
Volcano snails, which can reach lengths of 0.39 to 1.58 inches (0.5 to 4 cm), are categorized as tiny gastropods. The shell is 1.3 inches (3.2 cm) in width on average.
Interestingly, among all species in the entire animal kingdom, Chrysomallon squamiferum has the largest heart in relation to its body size. The heart makes up about 0.69% of the weight of an adult human. On the other hand, the heart of a scaly foot snail makes up about 4% of its total body weight.
What Do Volcano Snails Eat?
The exact diet of the scaly foot snail is unknown to experts. In fact, according to scientists, it doesn’t even appear to eat normally. It is thought that scaly foot snails really take in nutrients from the potentially hazardous mixtures that are emitted from the hot hydrothermal vents that make up their environment. They have an “enlarged esophageal gland,” as it is known. Bacteria, notably chemosynthetic bacteria, grow and thrive in this large gland, which is basically a little pocket. There are various sorts, and the various types convert various organic chemicals into energy. Some processes convert iron into energy, while others transform nitrogen or carbon into energy, and so on. You see what I mean.
The energy produced by the bacteria living in the esophageal gland is also ingested by this snail, along with other minerals. in the hydrothermal fluids, and compounds.
Are Volcano Snails Made of Iron?
in fact, They are made of iron. Well, to a certain extent. According to scientists, the Volcano snails are the only animal species in the world that can take metals from their environment, such as iron sulfides, and incorporate them into their skeleton and scaly foot. It’s a really neat little gimmick that only serves to highlight how varied and fascinating the animal kingdom can be!
How Do Volcano Snails Breed?
Volcano snails are considered hermaphrodites—specifically, simultaneous hermaphrodites. They can reproduce with one another because they are both male and female. This process, known as self-fertilization, is quite amazing in the animal kingdom.