The snails sexuality

Accouplement d'escargots

Last update: 05/05/2007

The snail is hermaphroditic, i.e. he is at the same time male and female. Nevertheless, this hermaphrodism isn't simultaneous but proterandric: the male genital products (spermatozoa) become ripe before the genital products females. The same individual is thus able to produce spermatozoa and ovules, but the auto fecundation being impossible, he must have to mate with a partner: it's a cross fecundation.

PréliminairesWhen two snails meet and that the season of the loves, they begin by kisses: those are the preliminaries.

But the snails doesn't go directly from these preliminaries to copulation.

Indeed, between the two, there is a phase called "Dart - Shooting".

Escargot et le dardThe snail, next to its head, has a muscular pouch. This muscular pouch, at a moment of the preliminaries, open and release a dart, an arrow, then, Cupid's arrow.

This arrow will go and get imbedded between the head and the shell of the partner. And this... the fact of being pricked by this dart, by this small arrow, will bring they to copulate.

Scientific investigation recently revealed that the "dart of love" is rather a means of injection. By using this dart, the snail giver injects at the recipient a mucus containing several types of hormones.
These hormones affect the genitals organs females of receptive snail.
Le dard de l'escargot

Le dard des escargots
The dart of Cupidon in front of a decimeter: almost 1 cm!!!

Then, as this moment, where the partner was stimulated, the copulation will be able to start.

Accouplement d'escargotsCopulation
They will emerge their penis from we don't where, but generally under the right eye.
Then, our two accomplices exchange their small bag, called spermatophore, containing the spermatozoa.
By the miracle of biology, our two male snails transform themselves into female, to produce ovules, which will be fertilized by the stored spermatozoa of the partner.
This act will last several hours (approximately 10-15).

There 15 to 20 days later, the snail will dig a hole of a few centimetres of deep. The quantity of eggs layed is approximately a hundred (that depends of the race, the age, etc...).

Ponte d'escargotsPonte helix pomatia
Sequence de la ponte
The process of egg-laying. Time is indicated here as hours:minutes

3 weeks later, it's the hatching ....

The youngs have translucent shells.
They will leave the nest to become adult like their parents.

But before arriving there, much will have died (dryness, floods, predatory, pesticides, etc.....)

It's what explains the significant number of eggs: a few will arrive at the adulthood (2 years).

It's the life......