Gastropods | Gastropoda

Gastropods refer to invertebrates under the class Gastropoda. This class is represented by slugs and snails that live in various environments such as land, freshwater, and oceans. These animals are scavengers, hence a host to various disease-transmitting pathogens. Though they have a distasteful look, some are a source of food and their shells can be used as ornaments in the making of jewelry. Gastropods have no hearing hence use sensory organs like the eyes, olfactory organs, and mechanoreceptors for detecting motion. Gastropods move through creeping using a muscular foot which in some species is extremely specialized for swimming or burrowing.

What do gastropods eat?

Gastropods usually have a variety of diets and thus the food they eat ranges a lot. Some gastropods species eat algae from the rocks along the ocean floor while others may feed on large marine plants such as kelp. Some gastropods are bottom feeders and search the ocean floor for food.

Where do gastropods live?

Gastropods live in both terrestrial and marine environments, but most species of gastropods live in bodies of water all around the world. Some gastropod species live in coral reef habitats, but generally gastropods are considered one of the most diverse species in their habitats.

How do gastropods reproduce?

The way gastropods reproduce depends highly from one group to another as gastropods are a diverse group of animals. The majority of gastropods reproduce through internal fertilization. Gastropods are also capable of being either male, female, or hermaphrodites which gives them their unique reproduction system.

Gastropods Guides
Browse through our curated Gastropods Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Gastropods. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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5.91”-15.35” | 15-39 cm
9.45”-23.62” | 24-60 cm
15”-39” | 38-99 cm
15-31 lb | 6.8-14 kg
1 year
Black Sea Hare
39.000
60.000
99.000
14.000
1.00
5800
3D
Black Sea Hare
.55”-.98” | 1.4-2.5 cm
.59”-1.18” | 1.5-3 cm
3.15”-5.91” | 8-15 cm
1-2 years
Black Slug
2.500
3.000
15.000
2.00
2900
3D
Black Slug
2.36”-3.15” | 6-8 cm
3.94”-4.53” | 10-11.5 cm
7.87”-9.84” | 20-25 cm
2-3 years
California Mussel
8.000
11.500
25.000
3.00
550
3D
California Mussel
.43”-1.06” | 1.1-2.7 cm
.43”-1.06” | 1.1-2.7 cm
.63”-1.5” | 1.6-3.8 cm
4-10 years
Common Periwinkle
2.700
2.700
3.800
10.00
3500
3D
Common Periwinkle
1.85”-2.56” | 4.7-6.5 cm
1.57”-2.36” | 4-6 cm
3.15”-4.33” | 8-11 cm
.11-.22 lb | .05-.1 kg
10-15 years
Common Whelk
6.500
6.000
11.000
0.100
15.00
2950
3D
Common Whelk
9.5”-2.6” | 2.4-6.6 cm
1.77”-4.92” | 4.5-12.5 cm
3”-8” | 7.6-20.3 cm
.88-1.98 lb | .4-.9 kg
10-20 years
Eastern Oyster
6.600
12.500
20.300
0.900
20.00
2000
3D
Eastern Oyster
.98”-1.77” | 2.5-4.5 cm
.98”-1.57” | 2.5-4 cm
1.97”-3.54” | 5-9 cm
.015-.03 lb | .007-.015 kg
2-5 years
Garden Snail
4.500
4.000
9.000
0.015
5.00
7100
3D
Garden Snail
3.46”-5.12” | 8.8-13 cm
3.54”-4.72” | 9-12 cm
7.87”-11.81” | 20-30 cm (Overall)
.44-1 lb | .2-.45 kg
5-9 years
Giant African Snail
13.000
12.000
30.000
0.450
9.00
10800
3D
Giant African Snail
3.15”-5.51” | 8-14 cm
3.15”-5.91” | 8-15 cm
5”-9” | 12.7-22.9 cm
.88-1.98 lb | .4-.9 kg
10-15 years
Knobbed Whelk
14.000
15.000
22.900
0.900
15.00
860
3D
Knobbed Whelk
.39”-.79” | 1-2 cm
.55”-1.02” | 1.4-2.6 cm
3.94”-7.87” | 10-20 cm
2-4 years
Leopard Slug
2.000
2.600
20.000
4.00
8200
3D
Leopard Slug
1.57”-8.27” | 4-21 cm
1.57”-8.27” | 4-21 cm
2.5”-16” | 6.4-40.6 cm
1.54-1.98 lb | .7-.9 kg
10-15 years
Lightning Whelk
21.000
21.000
40.600
0.900
15.00
1400
3D
Lightning Whelk
4.33”-9.06” | 11-23 cm
5.12”-9.84” | 13-25 cm
6”-12” | 15.2-30.5 cm
3-5 lb | 1.36-2.27 kg
20-40 years
Queen Conch
23.000
25.000
30.500
2.270
40.00
4300
3D
Queen Conch
1.57”-3.15” | 4-8 cm
3.94”-7.87” | 10-20 cm
5”-10” | 12.7-25.4 cm
1-2 lb | .45-.91 kg
30-40 years
White Abalone
8.000
20.000
25.400
0.910
40.00
790
3D
White Abalone
Giant African Snail (Achatina achatina)
Scale illustration of an average Giant African Snail with compared to other gastropods

The Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) is a large land snail that has been a significant cause in pest issues around the world. As a voracious feeder, the Giant African Snail eats a wide range of plant material, and it is a vector for plant pathogens which causes severe damage to agricultural crops and native plants. The species thrives in many types of habitats with mild climates. Physically, they have a conical shell, and the coloration is highly variable and dependent on diet. Usually it is brown, and the shell is banded.

Giant African Snails have an overall length between 7.87”-11.81” (20-30 cm), width from 3.54”-4.72” (9-12 cm), overall height of 3.46”-5.12” (8.8-13 cm), and weight in the range of .44-1 lb (.2-.45 kg). Their shell length is commonly between 5.9”-8” (15-20.3 cm) with a height of 2.75”-3.94” (7-10 cm). The typical lifespan of the Giant African Snail is 5-9 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Giant African Snail seen from the side, front, and top
The Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) is a large land snail that has been a significant cause in pest issues around the world. As a voracious feeder, the Giant African Snail eats a wide range of plant material, and it is a vector for plant pathogens which causes severe damage to agriculture.

Giant African Snails have an overall length between 7.87”-11.81” (20-30 cm), width from 3.54”-4.72” (9-12 cm), overall height of 3.46”-5.12” (8.8-13 cm), and weight in the range of .44-1 lb (.2-.45 kg). Their shell length is commonly between 5.9”-8” (15-20.3 cm) with a height of 2.75”-3.94” (7-10 cm). The typical lifespan of the Giant African Snail is 5-9 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Giant African Snail seen from the side, front, and top
Giant African Snail (Achatina achatina)
Height:
3.46”-5.12” | 8.8-13 cm
Width:
3.54”-4.72” | 9-12 cm
Length:
7.87”-11.81” | 20-30 cm (Overall)
Depth:
Weight:
.44-1 lb | .2-.45 kg
Area:

Shell Height: 2.75”-3.94” | 7-10 cm

Shell Length: 5.9”-8” | 15-20.3 cm

Scientific Name
Achatina achatina
Lifespan
5-9 years

Drawings include:

Giant African Snail side elevation, front, top

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California Mussel (Mytilus californianus)
Comparison drawing of the California Mussel compared to other gastropods

The California Mussel (Mytilus californianus) is an edible mussel and a marine bivalve mollusk. They are endemic to the west coast of North America, as they occur from northern Mexico to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. They like high salinity, low sediment conditions on rocky coasts. California Mussels are often found clustered together in large aggregations. Their shells are thick and the coloration is blue with a heavy brown periostracum. The beaks of the shell are often eroded, and the inner surface is blue and lightly pearly. The flesh of the mussel is orange.

California Mussels have a length between 7.87”-9.84” (20-25 cm), width from 3.94”-4.53” (10-11.5 cm), and height of 2.36”-3.15” (6-8 cm). The typical lifespan of the California Mussel is 2-3 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the California Mussel viewed from the front, side, and top
The California Mussel (Mytilus californianus) is an edible mussel and a marine bivalve mollusk. They are endemic to the west coast of North America, as they occur from northern Mexico to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. They like high salinity, low sediment conditions on rocky coasts.

California Mussels have a length between 7.87”-9.84” (20-25 cm), width from 3.94”-4.53” (10-11.5 cm), and height of 2.36”-3.15” (6-8 cm). The typical lifespan of the California Mussel is 2-3 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the California Mussel viewed from the front, side, and top
California Mussel (Mytilus californianus)
Height:
2.36”-3.15” | 6-8 cm
Width:
3.94”-4.53” | 10-11.5 cm
Length:
7.87”-9.84” | 20-25 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Mytilus californianus
Lifespan
2-3 years

Drawings include:

California Mussel side elevation, front, top

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Black Sea Hare (Aplysia vaccaria)
Measured comparison illustration of the size of a Black Sea Hare to other gastropods

The Black Sea Hare (Aplysia vaccaria) is the largest sea slug species and a gastropod mollusk. They live in the northeast Pacific Ocean off of California, and in Baja California, including the Gulf of California. The body of the species is firm, and the parapodia are joined behind the siphon. They have two pairs of tentacles on the top of the head, one near the mouth, and the other behind the eyes. Unlike other members of the same family and genus, the Black Sea Hare cannot produce ink. It is a herbivore, as it eats brown seaweeds and kelp, which give the animal its dark coloration.

Black Sea Hares have a length between 15”-39” (38-99 cm), width from 9.45”-23.62” (24-60 cm), height of 5.91”-15.35” (15-39 cm), and weight in the range of 15-31 lb (6.8-14 kg). The typical lifespan of the Black Sea Hare is 1 year.

Scaled collection of drawings of Black Sea Hare in multiple poses
The Black Sea Hare (Aplysia vaccaria) is the largest sea slug species and a gastropod mollusk. They live in the northeast Pacific Ocean off of California, and in Baja California, including the Gulf of California. The body of the species is firm, and the parapodia are joined behind the siphon.

Black Sea Hares have a length between 15”-39” (38-99 cm), width from 9.45”-23.62” (24-60 cm), height of 5.91”-15.35” (15-39 cm), and weight in the range of 15-31 lb (6.8-14 kg). The typical lifespan of the Black Sea Hare is 1 year.

Scaled collection of drawings of Black Sea Hare in multiple poses
Black Sea Hare (Aplysia vaccaria)
Height:
5.91”-15.35” | 15-39 cm
Width:
9.45”-23.62” | 24-60 cm
Length:
15”-39” | 38-99 cm
Depth:
Weight:
15-31 lb | 6.8-14 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Aplysia vaccaria
Lifespan
1 year

Drawings include:

Black Sea Hare side elevation, front, top

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Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica)
Comparison drawing of the Eastern Oyster compared to other gastropods

The Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is a true oyster species native to the eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico coast of North America. It is a bivalve mollusk with a hard calcium-carbonaceous shell that protects it from predators. Like other members of the same family, they can also make small pearls to surround particles that enter the shell. The pearls are insignificant in size and have no value. Like coral reef the Eastern Oyster’s oyster bed provides a habitat for a variety of species. As a filter feeder the Eastern Oyster sucks in water to filter out plankton and detritus to swallow; it then spits the water back out.

Eastern Oysters have a length between 3”-8” (7.6-20.3 cm), width from 1.77”-4.92” (4.5-12.5 cm), height of 9.5”-2.6” (2.4-6.6 cm), and weight in the range of .88-1.98 lb (.4-.9 kg). The typical lifespan of the Eastern Oyster is 10-20 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Eastern Oyster viewed from the front, side, and top
The Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is a true oyster species native to the eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico coast of North America. It is a bivalve mollusk with a hard calcium-carbonaceous shell that protects it from predators. Like other members of the family, they can make pearls.

Eastern Oysters have a length between 3”-8” (7.6-20.3 cm), width from 1.77”-4.92” (4.5-12.5 cm), height of 9.5”-2.6” (2.4-6.6 cm), and weight in the range of .88-1.98 lb (.4-.9 kg). The typical lifespan of the Eastern Oyster is 10-20 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Eastern Oyster viewed from the front, side, and top
Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica)
Height:
9.5”-2.6” | 2.4-6.6 cm
Width:
1.77”-4.92” | 4.5-12.5 cm
Length:
3”-8” | 7.6-20.3 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.88-1.98 lb | .4-.9 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Crassostrea virginica
Lifespan
10-20 years

Drawings include:

Eastern Oyster side elevation, front, top

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Knobbed Whelk (Busycon carica)
Comparison drawing of the Knobbed Whelk compared to other gastropods

The Knobbed Whelk (Busycon carica) is a large predatory sea snail species native to the North Atlantic coast of North America, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to northern Florida. The shell is thick and strong with six clockwise coils, and the surface is sculpted with fine striations with a ring of knob-like projections that protrude from the widest part of the coil. The color can vary from ivory to pale gray, and the large aperture is orange. On shallow water Knobbed Whelks prey on oysters, clams, and other marine bivalves.

Knobbed Whelks have a length between 5”-9” (12.7-22.9 cm), width from 3.15”-5.91” (8-15 cm), height of 3.15”-5.51” (8-14 cm), and weight in the range of .88-1.98 lb (.4-.9 kg). The typical lifespan of the Knobbed Whelk is 10-15 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Knobbed Whelk viewed from the front, side, and top
The Knobbed Whelk (Busycon carica) is a large predatory sea snail species native to the North Atlantic coast of North America, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to northern Florida. The shell is thick and strong with six clockwise coils, and the surface is sculpted with fine striations.

Knobbed Whelks have a length between 5”-9” (12.7-22.9 cm), width from 3.15”-5.91” (8-15 cm), height of 3.15”-5.51” (8-14 cm), and weight in the range of .88-1.98 lb (.4-.9 kg). The typical lifespan of the Knobbed Whelk is 10-15 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Knobbed Whelk viewed from the front, side, and top
Knobbed Whelk (Busycon carica)
Height:
3.15”-5.51” | 8-14 cm
Width:
3.15”-5.91” | 8-15 cm
Length:
5”-9” | 12.7-22.9 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.88-1.98 lb | .4-.9 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Busycon carica
Lifespan
10-15 years

Drawings include:

Knobbed Whelk side elevation, front, top

Details & Downloads

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