Hi Rosanna, the picture is not very sharp, sadly... yet it seems that the everted part is the whole copulatory structure, not (just) the dart... It should appear as a thorn-like whitish structure; do you see it on there? Some specimens at maturity have a more or less visible genital "papilla", yet I'd never seen such a degree of protrusion, and so long delayed in time. Does it stay ever the same? Never retracted, even if at a little degree? Has the snail other companion to mate with, and did they actually mate?
-The love-dart is usually disposed of in most of the families, while (in some more primitive ones, as the Bradybaenidae ) it is re-utilized again and again, as it has been adscertained.
I don't know sadly, which "group" the Achatinidae family belongs to... but if the snail has actually such dart, it could be not "its own", too. -If a snail bears such a dart "impaled" in its body tissues, that means it has received it from its mate; usually it shoud detach and fall, but I don't believe it would be something pathological if it remains there for a longer time.
-Love dart seems to serve to some hormone-delivering purpose, enabling a higher percentage of the sperms from the mate to survive within the "stabbed" snail's body, being spared a sort of tissutal "digestion".
You should chiefly verify the overall health condition of your snail: if it acts as normal, feed regularly etc, I believe there is not much matter for concerns. Please let us know soon, how it becomes!
I can't see the dart, it seems to me it is a sort of prolapse, the sac being everted... this is normal, as a modification seen within copulatory behaviour; less so if it remains in such state, for so long time.. But do the snail behaviour normally, as its inmates?
I remember a long time ago, someone on here had a snail that such went about with it's penis protruding right out, to the length of the shell. It kept that up for at least a week without retracting it as I recall. The pictures of yours remind me of it, except that yours is more bunched up.
There's a good chance it's just desperate to breed and that it's not actually a health problem. My indicators of health have always been: Are they eating? Are they active? If the answer to both is a resounding yes, I don't think there's anything to worry about. In every afflication I've seen, appetite and activity are nearly always affected to some degree.
Post by Robert Nordsieck on Aug 3, 2010 19:20:03 GMT
I also cannot see a love dart in this picture. Concerning the role of love darts in the mating of snails there are several interesting papers by Joris Koene displayed also on his homepage ww.jkoene.dds.nl. I especially like his fabulous electron microscope pictures of love darts.
I have to admit - it makes me glad that I'm not a snail!
Fascinating article though. I'm impressed that you wrote that. I don't know enough on the subject to give feedback from a knowledgable point of view, however it is easy to understand and comprehensive, and I now know more than I did ten minutes ago! .
For almost 5 years Daniel Chung studied the courtship rituals involving the use of the "love darts" in Helix aspera. The following extracts are from his observations :
"Love darts are calcareous spears that are thrust into the flesh of the mating partner during courtship and mating. It has usually been assumed that the dart somehow "stimulates" the partner, though exactly what is stimulated or how this stimulation occurs has never been determined. Perhaps the most puzzling thing about the dart is that it appears to harm the courting partner. It can be thrust entirely into the body of the partner and may lodge in the tissues of the foot, head, or other body parts. The partner often appears to be wounded and not "stimulated". The dart of H. aspera can be almost 10mm long and has 4 vanes running down its axis ( see fig below ). I have seen individuals darted in the mouth and head, with the the base and tip sticking out the opposite sides of the body. In approximately 15% of the mating H. aspera, the dart is embedded entirely in the body of the snail, in about 25% the dart does not lodge very well and falls out."