Snail Dissection

Step 1

  • Note the external anatomy of the relaxed specimen

Submerge the relaxed, extended adult specimen in a dish with 75% ethanol or water.

step01 Figure:01

step02 Figure:02

Step 2

  • Cut along the inner portion of the hyponotum

Make a shallow incision near the anus using a pair of sharp dissecting scissors. Angle scissors upwards and proceed with incision along the hyponotum of the animal. The incision should be made on the inner side if the hyponotum. Cut towards the head of the animal (on both sides) to remove the mantle.

step03 Figure:03

step04 Figure:04

Step 3

  • Remove the mantle of the animal

Gently peel back the mantle to expose the contents of the animal. Begin at the tip of the tail and work towards the head.

step05 Figure:05

step06 Figure:06

Step 4

  • Remove the ovotestis from the digestive gland

Gently remove the areas of the digestive gland that cover the ovotestis. The ovotestis is often embedded in the digestive gland but is easily identified, as it is typically a different color (or shade). Make incisions along the sides of the hermaphroditic duct to remove all lateral connections to the digestive gland. The animal may need to be inverted for these steps.

step07 Figure:07 step08 Figure: 08

step09 Figure: 09

Step 5

  • Separate the reproductive system from the digestive system

Orient the animal as illustrated in Figure 10 so that the reproductive system is above the digestive system. Make incisions along the dashed lines to separate both systems (Figure 10-11).

step10 Figure: 10 step11 Figure: 11 step12 Figure: 12

Step 6

  • Unravel the reproductive system

Figure 13 displays the entire reproductive system. The structures are compressed and intertwined at this stage and need to be teased apart. Use an insect pin to gently unravel each portion of the system by following the connection to each.

step13 Figure: 13 step14 Figure: 14

Step 7

  • Treatment for Photography

If a photograph of the reproductive system is required, the structures can be arranged and pinned as desired then fixed in place by immersion in 95% ethanol for approximately 15 minutes.
DO NOT leave the reproductive structures in 95% ethanol for an extended period, as dehydration and distortion will occur.
The pins can be removed from the specimen for photography or closer examination.

The pins can be removed from the specimen for photography or closer examination.

step15 Figure: 15 step16 Figure: 16

step17 Figure: 17