The glowing snails of Singapore

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Posted on Thu, Jan 01 2015 17:22:57

singapore glowing snailThere is a variety of bioluminescent organisms spread around the planet – for example, the microorganisms in the Jamaican lagoon, various ocean creatures, worms and plants – well, Singapore has their bioluminescent snails, which go well with the city's illuminated nightlife.

The snails are called Quantula striata -they are medium-sized , air-breathing tropical land snails. These snails are unique because they emanate green light. Their eggs glow in the dark as well. In Singapore they live in  lawns, walkways and dumps, and the best time to see them would be at night, after rain.  In the daytime these snails look like any ordinary snail, with beige or reddish-brown shells. The faster the snail moves, the faster it will flicker. When the snail is eating, the frequency  of the light flashes slows down, and when it goes to sleep, their lights go off. While the mature snails flicker when they move, their eggs and newly hatched baby snails glow all the time.

The purpose of the bioluminescence in these snails have not yet been fully understood, however it is hypothesized that it is related to their communication. 

The green light the snails emit is produced by the organ of Haneda in their heads. Snail lovers, who don't mind them dining on their lettuce, carrots and cucumbers, let the snails live in their gardens.

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Read more about Singapore off the beaten path
Find more off the beaten path near: Pulau Ubin Singapore

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