Neohelix albolabris reproducing?

I’m pretty sure that the snail I use for outreach is extruding an egg case (species Neohelix albolabris).  Work is still in progress, but here is a photo timeline of the progress so far. A note for the general public: snails are both male and female, like most plants are.  I named my snail Albert, but Albert isn’t actually male.

 

I first noticed something was going on on Sunday morning around 8:30 am.  My first thought was that maybe my snail had picked up some crazy parasite, but my thoughts quickly turned to eggs given the location near the genital pore.

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This is what my snail, Albert, looked like around 9am on Sunday.

 

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Around 12pm on Sunday it looked like Albert was trying to stick the egg case to the top of xer enclosure, but xe has moved around a lot since.

 

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9 hours in Albert was eating some carrot to keep xer energy up.  In between I was worried that Albert wasn’t getting enough water since xe hadn’t moved from the top of the container, so I gently poured some water on xer.

 

Albert seemed to get too dry in the middle of the night.  I found xer mostly pushed back into xer shell, and the parts that didn’t fit were covered with mucus.  I didn’t photo-document it, but rushed to the sink to gently rehydrate xer.  I’ve had a moist paper towel over xer enclosure all day, and that has helped keep Albert moist even when xe is spending time near the top.

 

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Here is a picture around 31 hours into the process.

It has been 33 hours, and Albert is still at it.  I’m getting worried about how long this has been taking.  I’m rather fond of the little guy.

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This is a picture 48 hours in.

My new hypothesis is that maybe this is some sort of copulatory structure rather than an egg case.  It is still there more than a week later, but a lot smaller and thinner.  Albert can fit it in xer shell.  Maybe Albert was feeling hopeful, or maybe the structure is still required for selfing?

More updates as events warrant.

 

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