Adult mollusk Photo: CSIC
Reading Spanish scientists are using unusual methods to combat the extinction of the marine snail Patella ferruginea, which has been prized as a delicacy since prehistoric times: it has succeeded in artificially fertilizing the so-called mollusks. Twelve lab-born sea slugs have now completed the most critical phase of their development and have now grown into eagerly crawling young. In the project, led by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), scientists were able to observe the marine snails as they developed from the embryo to planktonic larvae to the crawling juvenile. The patella ferruginea is the first marine species in Spain to have developed a conservation strategy.

Annie Machordom, researcher at CSIC, explains: "The overall goal of the project is to ensure the recovery of the species by examining its fundamental biological aspects. These include the reproduction and analysis of the population structure. In addition, we breed cubs under laboratory conditions to restore populations affected by natural or man-made disasters.

The team of scientists has also found a peculiarity in the propagation of snails: The animals can change their sex - and not just once, from male to female, as well as other mollusks. On the contrary, you can reverse the process and become male again.

Communication from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) © science.de - Sabine Kurz advertisement

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