Ever Wondered What Snail Embryos Looked Like?

2 February 2015

We often see terrestrial snails loitering in the foliage, but have ignored them because they were too common. Their eggs however, were less common but still ignored as they looked really plain. It wasn’t only until recently that we examined these crummy little globules of see-through masses to witness a magical view of the mind-blowing detail within, thanks to Melvyn!

    Snail eggs (Gastropoda) - DSC_4878
  1. Snail eggs (Gastropoda)

    Snail eggs usually looked plain, at least under normal frontal light. Just boring little globules right?

  2. Snail hatchling - DSC_7207
  3. Snail hatchling (Gastropoda)

    This oddly shaped mass of what looked like snail eggs had us looking closer, only to discover tiny little snail hatchlings emerging from the eggs!

  4. Snail hatchling - DSC_7211
  5. Snail hatchling (Gastropoda)

    The newborn can be seen to be crawling slowly away from the eggs.

  6. Snail hatchling - DSC_7220
  7. Snail hatchling (Gastropoda)

    Sometimes, it stopped to look around.

  8. Snail hatchling - DSC_7223
  9. Snail hatchling (Gastropoda)

    Aren’t they cute? The additional black spots above belonged to yet another hatchling!

  10. Snail embryos - DSC_7230
  11. Snail embryos (Gastropoda)

    A few steps down, another batch of eggs was spotted. They seemed to contain more than the typical eggs, and it seemed impossible to light up the inside without overexposing the surface with highlights and washing out the detail within. With a flash placed behind, we were treated with a magnificent view of the embryos in the eggs!

  12. Snail embryos - DSC_7236
  13. Snail embryos (Gastropoda)

    The tiny black dot would be one of the eyes of the little ones.

  14. Snail embryos - DSC_7246
  15. Snail embryos (Gastropoda)

    Having the scene lit from behind was like viewing an X-ray. Due to the translucence of the embryos, we could almost see through them.

  16. Snail embryos - DSC_7252
  17. Snail embryos (Gastropoda)

    Some of the snail’s shells have already taken shape!

  18. Next time when you see these little egg masses, have a closer look yourself and see what you’ve been missing out!

The complete album for this field trip can be viewed here.

Check out my Flickr set for more examples and ideas for back-lighting in macro photography.




Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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