Advice on imaging a snail 

I’m quite curious about imaging the underside of a snail – I’ve seen them crawl upside down and even submerged in water- some questions I have. What microstructure do they have that enables such great adhesion? How do they breath under water? Do they have eyes? Can they sense light? How big are they -end to end? Are the permanently attached to their shell?

Anyways. Long story short- I didn’t have the heart to kill them ( even though I was highly tempted to crack their shell open).

Any tips on coaxing them out alive? I tried putting drops of MgCl2 solution to make them numb by deactivating their ion channels. Didn’t work very well 🙁

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    @Saad: excellent question. Also, the desire to image life live when it behaves the way it should – is fantastic. You will learn more.

    Almost a year ago; I posted my adventures of imaging live snails. See here:

    you need to watch the you tube videos – which are not embedded properly.

    Secondly; since your snails are big; inwouldnlike the reflected microscopy trick. Look at videos where I image the wounds from the poison oak (I know you don’t want to be reminded).. But take a look. The trick is to use a reflected light.

    Good luck..


  2. Saad Bhamla says:

    @manu – Nice post! That wriggling underbelly is awesome. I’ll look for tinier ones next time.
    I was hoping there’d be a nice concoction of salts to douse them in and slide them out alive – so they wouldn’t feel a thing : )

  3. Saad Bhamla says:

    Also – I need to rig myself a reflection mode – it’s high time!

  4. Manu Prakash says:

    @saad: For building a reflected light Foldscope setup – Very simple to do – just take a puncher (from George); punch a hole at a distance where your LED comes in for the specific phone you use; and you are done. Almost trivial..


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