Eastern Mud Snail Mosh Pit
The mud snails are running late this year or maybe there just aren’t as many. In the beginning of May,they come in droves to the sandy flats here on the Cape. Small pieces of shell or rock, the netting that we use to protect our clams and even little strands of algae are like islands for the breeding snails, since they need to lay their eggs on something solid. The snails mate then mosh by the thousands on the hard substrates, deposit their eggs and then disperse. Each case has about a hundred eggs, which develop into planktonic larvae called veligers in about a week. The tiny veligers bust out of the case and swim in the water for two weeks being washed to and fro by the tides. Then, they grow a shell, transform into little snails and sink to the bottom to take up their glamorous benthic, lifestyle as detritus-eaters. You will begin to see the little mud snails scavenging individually or in small groups during the end of May and June.
Scientific Name: Nassarius obsoletus
Classification: gastropod molluscs
Habitat and Range: Tidal flats from Nova Scotia to Georgia