‘Dumbo’ Snail
Strange Locomotion


Something strange caught my eye on a dive the other day. I was swimming along, looking for the usual Lembeh suspects when, in the corner of my vision, I saw a small white shape moving erratically through the water.

I snapped my head around and saw a sight that I had never seen before…

We see a lot of underwater snails and conchs here. And whenever we’ve seen them moving they have always been slowly pulling themselves along. They do this with their ‘foot’. The ‘foot’ is the bottom part of their body and is attached to their ‘mantle’ which can completely envelop their shell. They usually push their foot out in front, under their body, then slowly drag themselves toward to foot, It’s a slow process!

However this one seems to use it’s foot and mantle to ‘fly’ through the water. It turns it’s body upside down then uses it’s foot/mantle as a big paddle to propel itself forward. I kept thinking of Dumbo, which is why I’ve called it that. Eventually, when it reached a suitable bit of sand, it buried itself and was gone.

I asked our guides and none of them had ever seen this movement before.



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