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Behavioural Rhythms of Land Snails in the Field

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Circadian and circannual behavioural rhythms of Helix are described in the field. Laboratory studies demonstrate the existence of an endogenous component for these rhythms. The effects of the environmental factors on the snail activities are multiple: light/dark and cold/warm cycles synchronise the behavioural rhythms; a masking effect is observed when it rains since the animals are active throughout the 24 h day; high temperature and low relative humidity cause a complete cessation of activities. In addition, social interactions between and within species can modulate the shape of the rhythms driven by the biological clock.
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Keywords: Helix aspersa; Helix pomatia; Land snail; circadian rhythm; circannual rhythm

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratoire de Biologie Animale et Appliquée Saint-Etienne France

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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