Caption: Marine snail radula surface (Nerita polita). The radula is a tongue-like organ found in mollusks. Gastropods (Gastropoda), commonly referred to as snails, have elaborate radulas used primarily for gathering food. A gastropod radula is a toothed chitinous ribbon studded with longitudinal rows of chitinous and recurved teeth, the cuticula. It is used to rasp and scrape diatoms and other microscopic algae off rock surfaces and other substrata. The radula apparatus consists of two parts: 1) the odontophore (the cartilaginous base), with associated muscles; and 2) the radula itself, with its cuticula. The odontophore is movable and the radula itself is movable over the odontophore. Through this action the radula teeth are erected. The tip of the odontophore then scrapes the feeding surface, while the teeth cut and scoop up the food and convey the particles through the esophagus to the digestive tract. These actions continually wear down the frontal teeth. New teeth are continuously formed at the posterior end of the buccal cavity in the radula sac. They are slowly brought forward to the tip by a slow forward movement of the ribbon, to be replaced in their turn when they are worn out. Teeth production is rapid (some species produce up to five rows per day). The teeth of the radula are lubricated by the mucus of the salivary gland, just above the radula. Food particles are trapped into this sticky mucus, smoothing the progress of food into the oesophagus. This snail / nerite is commonly found in Hawaii.
Magnification*: x18
Type: SEM
Copyright 2008 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
Keywords: 05.01.08,95116A,Misc. invertebrates,chitinous ribbon radula,chitinous ribbon tooth,cuticula,cuticulum,gastropod,Gastropoda,gastropods,Metazoa,modified tongue,mollusc,molluscs,mollusk,mollusks,neride,nerides,Nerita polita,nerite,nerite gastropod,Neritidae,odontophore,odontophore muscle,odontophore muscles,radula,radula muscle,radula muscles,radula teeth,radulas,rasping radula,scraping radula,sea snail,sea snails,SEM,snail,snail radula,snail teeth,snail tongue,snail tooth,snails,teeth production,tooth,hawaiian gastropod,hawaiian gastropods,hawaiian mollusc,hawaiian mollusk,hawaiian snail,hawaiian snails