The means by which aquatic animals such as freshwater snails collect food particles distributed on the water surface are of great interest for understanding life at the air–water interface. The apple snail Pomacea canaliculata stabilizes itself just below the air–water interface and manipulates its foot such that it forms a cone-shaped funnel into which an inhalant current is generated, thereby drawing food particles into the funnel to be ingested. We measured the velocity of this feeding current and tracked the trajectories of food particles around and on the snail. Our experiments indicated that the particles were collected via the free surface flow generated by the snail’s undulating foot. The findings were interpreted using a simple model based on lubrication theory, which considered several plausible mechanisms depending on the relative importance of hydrostatic pressure, capillary action and rhythmic surface undulation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was partly supported by the National Science Foundation (CBET-1919753 to Su.J., CBET-1605947 to S.L., and CBET-1603929 to D.T.) and the US Army Research Office (W911NF-17-1-0442 to D.T.).
© 2020 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
- Feeding current
- Particle transport
- Peristaltic pumping
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.