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Old 07/03/2005, 02:42 AM   #1
melev
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Post Sundial Snails - tiny predators

Occasionally I'll see images of sundial snails on Reef Central. I'd never seen one in person until today. While buying some zoanthids at the LFS, I picked up a frag and found it underneath. Sundial Snails are predators and will eat zoanthids greedily.

If you own zoos, you would be wise to study your colonies late night when the coral is closed up to see if these snails are in your tank.

The shell markings are very recognizable. And interestingly enough, the two antennae that they extend appear to be tattooed, just like whelks (another predator that eats clams).

Since there doesn't seem to be a lot of documentation, or should I say there is usually a lack of pictures available, this thread is going to provide all the images I took today. I found one at one LFS, then went to another store and found two more.

First of all, these are very small. It is hard to state their size in comparison to something else, so let's use measurements. The three I have are 3/8" wide (diameter of the shell) and 1/8" thick. Since they can breed and produce babies, you may find tinier ones. Here is what they look like.

This is a view from above. Much to my surprise, they travel on their edge, with the disk standing perpendicular to the surface they are affixed to. With all the images I've seen, I never knew they did this.


Here are two more pictures of the snail next to a common dime.




And once with the snail on the dime. The strange pointy thing that looks like a rattlesnake rattle doesn't appear to do anything more than retract within the shell when the snail goes to hide.


Here are a couple of them in a small disposable serving container. If you are a Domino's Pizza fan, you may recognize this as the individual serving dish they'll fill with jalapenos, for example.




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Old 07/03/2005, 02:42 AM   #2
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All three in that same serving dish. I put a thumbscrew in the water with them. If you own a calcium reactor or protein skimmer, you may have seen these black nylon screws. If so, maybe you can get a good idea how small these snails are.


Here is a close up, showing how those feelers appear to be tattoed. (Take a look at this article about whelks to see what I mean: http://melevsreef.com/id/whats_a_whelk.html )



Here is another shot of two showing their funny 'tail'.


In this image, you can see the bottom of the shell (top snail) and top of the shell (bottom snail). The threads of the nylon screw are 1/4" wide.


Here two are approaching one another.


In this final image, you can see the shells from all three perspectives: the top, side, and back. They didn't exactly pose for this shot; I helped.


Hopefully this will benefit some of your tanks one day.


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Old 07/03/2005, 03:12 AM   #3
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Great public service thread.

Have you ever seen how long their proboscus (sp?) is? Like several inches.

I learned about this snail a while back all alone wondering why zoos were disappearing every day. It took about a week but I finally found him. You folks are lucky to have RC and Marc nowadays.


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Old 07/03/2005, 08:23 AM   #4
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Great pictures, I seen one at the LFS last time I was there. I told the girl what it was and to get it out. Too bad they are evil, they're kind of pretty!


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Old 07/03/2005, 08:34 AM   #5
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Excellent shots Marc.


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Old 07/03/2005, 09:01 AM   #6
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Thanks for the heads up Marc. Are you going to toss 'em or put them in a fuge?


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Old 07/03/2005, 09:03 AM   #7
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Let me re-state that. If you were to put them in a fuge and they reproduced, is there any possible way they could get back up into the display tank?

I would think that if they were to get out of the fuge and into the pump to go back up that they would get sliced up - or you would hear a nice crunch, from the impeller smashing them up. Or one would think.


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Old 07/03/2005, 12:07 PM   #8
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I'm not preserving them. My son and I discussed it, because in a way it seems a shame to kill something that looks pretty, but basically it is a pest just like a whelk, an aiptasia, a flatworm, etc. They'll be tossed out into the backyard.


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Old 07/03/2005, 12:11 PM   #9
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I've read threads here on rc about people with zoanthids over running their sps, looking for these snails. So, someone may want these.


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Old 07/03/2005, 12:17 PM   #10
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Yes, tis true. One man's trash is another man's treasure...

Those that want them can come get them now.


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Old 07/03/2005, 12:26 PM   #11
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I agree Marc. Keep them for a week, I always see someone looking for these to help with an overrun of zoos.


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Old 07/03/2005, 02:27 PM   #12
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Hey Ken, let's put them in your tank. There are more reefers in your area anyway, right?


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Old 07/03/2005, 03:34 PM   #13
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Marc,

Thanks for the heads up on these guys and the whelks. I am starting to get a few clams and would hate to loose them to predators. Do you have any pictures of the pyramid snails?


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Old 07/03/2005, 03:35 PM   #14
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Toss em or the cycle will repeat and they will end up in someone else's tank.


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Old 07/03/2005, 03:42 PM   #15
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I've put a half dozen of those things in a ten gallon tank with about forty or fifty hitchiker zoas I wanted to get rid of. The zoas shrank up to almost nothing and stayed that way for a few weeks. After the snails disappeared ( starved to death ? ) the zoas reopened and are back as strong as ever.




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Old 07/03/2005, 04:03 PM   #16
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No, I don't have those Bobby. If I ever come across them, I'll put them on the ID page. I've seen a couple of images here on RC, and they looked like baby ceriths to me.

Agu, you might see if you can round up one or more of these:
http://melevsreef.com/id/pycnogonid.html


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Old 07/03/2005, 04:47 PM   #17
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Hi sorry but what is the ting in the foto http://melevsreef.com/id/pycnogonid.html
look like a alien i never se someting like that before.
I read all but i dont get it.


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Old 07/03/2005, 04:55 PM   #18
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Oh i tink i get is sorry.


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Old 07/04/2005, 01:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by crna63
Marc,

Thanks for the heads up on these guys and the whelks. I am starting to get a few clams and would hate to loose them to predators. Do you have any pictures of the pyramid snails?
tiny white snails like grains of rice shaped kind of like a cerith. Learned about those all by myself too. They killed both my clams and more recently got on some of my Astrea snails.


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Old 07/04/2005, 02:15 AM   #20
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Frick, do you happen to have any still on hand? Even if they aren't alive, perhaps you could mail them to me so I can take some pictures and post some images.

I asked my LFS if they would watch for zoanthid-eating nudibranchs as well. I might as well get all the predators listed.


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Old 07/04/2005, 08:17 AM   #21
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I'll look over my Astreas and see if any have returned. I killed with a vengeance the last time I was on pyramidella patrol.

I also think I took some pics of an infested Astrea a while back, I'll have to look through my pics too.

I haven't gotten another clam since they killed my two and that was several years ago already.


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Old 07/04/2005, 08:42 AM   #22
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Here's some nudis, they are good wiped out all my zoos, now I'm afraid to put new ones in.






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Old 07/04/2005, 04:24 PM   #23
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I had some that with a zoos I bought from Dr Mac. My zoos are still recovering weeks later. They only at night and uring the day, they seem to hide in the sand or under the zoos.

Steve


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Old 07/05/2005, 01:34 AM   #24
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I knew this was going to happen! I had a post written yesterday but cancelled it anyways.

Whelk doesn't equate a clam eater! They are predatory but their diets vary, which means they may go for a clam, but not necessarily! For example, I have a whelk Bursa granularis, but to my best knowledge, it doesn't eat clams. It eats worms.

Pyramid snails are hard to ID for a casual aquarist. Further more, they tend to be specific predators. If it's eating an Astraea, chances are it's not gonna go for a clam.


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Old 07/05/2005, 02:00 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by romunov
I knew this was going to happen! I had a post written yesterday but cancelled it anyways.

Whelk doesn't equate a clam eater! They are predatory but their diets vary, which means they may go for a clam, but not necessarily! For example, I have a whelk Bursa granularis, but to my best knowledge, it doesn't eat clams. It eats worms.

Pyramid snails are hard to ID for a casual aquarist. Further more, they tend to be specific predators. If it's eating an Astraea, chances are it's not gonna go for a clam.
Well if the clam ones and the Astrea ones are different, they would be a real bear to ID because they look identical.

I have been looking over all my Astreas for the past couple days and dang if they aren't all clean (well that's a good dang )


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