Snails and their trails: the multiple functions of trail‐following in gastropods

@article{Ng2013SnailsAT,
  title={Snails and their trails: the multiple functions of trail‐following in gastropods},
  author={Terence P. T. Ng and Sara Hintz Saltin and Mark S. Davies and Kerstin Johannesson and Richard Stafford and Gray A. Williams},
  journal={Biological Reviews},
  year={2013},
  volume={88}
}
Snails are highly unusual among multicellular animals in that they move on a layer of costly mucus, leaving behind a trail that can be followed and utilized for various purposes by themselves or by other animals. Here we review more than 40 years of experimental and theoretical research to try to understand the ecological and evolutionary rationales for trail‐following in gastropods. Data from over 30 genera are currently available, representing a broad taxonomic range living in both aquatic… 
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TLDR
It is concluded that some unknown cue is present enabling snails to discriminate trails by their age, and trail following in the authors' snails was not related to mate searching or the formation of aggregations.
Energy saving through trail following in a marine snail
TLDR
It is shown that although the resultant mucus trail is expensive to produce, this expense can be reduced by trail following and energy saving occurs when following recently laid trails which are little weathered.
Intraspecific trail following by the mud snail Ilyanassa obsoleta
TLDR
The data suggest that chemoreception is involved in trail following behavior and the results are discussed in reference to aspects of the ecology of llyanassa.
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TLDR
Experiments aimed at assessing the potential role in nutrition of the mucus trail of the common intertidal periwinkle Littorina littorea found trail-following seems inextricably linked to nutrition.
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TLDR
The paired cephalic tentacles of littorinids are known to be tactile and one of the sites where chemical detection of predator mucus is possible, and are likely locations for sensory receptors involved in trail polarity detection.
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TLDR
It was observed that trails were followed more closely at low humidities than at high humidities, and the home provides a fixed starting point to feeding excursions : this may facilitate re‐location of preferred feeding areas.
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TLDR
Whether nudibranchs utilize water-borne substances of the same species or mucous trails to find their mate is examined, as they need not distinguish the sex of other individuals for mating.
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TLDR
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Snails and trails
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