Can snails actually sleep?

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Can snails actually sleep?

Postby flaringshutter on Fri Sep 14, 2007 5:59 pm

This is the kind of thing I think about in the middle of the night when my boyfriend is "hot hot" and uncuddly. :-?

Since sleep is regulated and controlled mainly by the brain and hormones in humans, I'm wondering if snails actually sleep?

I know they have a cerebral group of nerves, but I wonder if they actually have the capacity to sleep. Related, I think there was a study recently that said fish didn't have the brain capacity to feel pain? (Someone link it if you remember where it was. I couldn't find it.) Either way, I think it's obvious that fish and snails feel discomfort, even if they don't feel pain. So what about sleep?

I think Donya would be the one who would probably have the best information base to answer, but anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Postby PaulaO on Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:27 pm

I've read studies where the down the food chain a critter is (meaning, they are the prey), the less sleep they get. They "sleep" in little cat naps. For them, to truly snooze would probably mean death. The example they used were the smaller gazelles.

The higher up the food chain, the more sleep the critter can get so the deeper their sleep is. Such as the lion resting after eating a gazelle.

I think, then, that snails are somewhere in the middle. I think they sleep and I think they can reach a fairly deep sleep. I've watched snails so asleep, they slowly peel off the tank wall and don't wake up until it is either too late to get a better grip or they just hit the bottom.

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Postby flaringshutter on Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:03 pm

I agree, my snails appear to sleep too. However, since snails don't have a brain, and sleep itself is triggered, regulated, and controlled mainly by the brain, I don't know if what they do is actually sleep. I mean, it appears to be sleep.
I suppose we won't ever really know for sure, until someone does actual tests on "sleeping" snails. I can't imagine what those tests might involve, though...
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Postby rpilla001 on Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:11 pm

Well they do have a brain of sorts.. Its just a ball of nerves not developed like primates.

Even Jellyfish "sleep". They have been found at night just drifting on the bottom with no motion

Donya would be good to get in on this one

To bad Philip Dick is not still alive he could write a book, "Do Snails Dream of Endless Zuccini"

For those of you too young to understand this reference, please look here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_K._Dick

or better yet

Isaac Assimov "Snail Dreams" The snail brain has three laws

1) A snail may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2) A snail must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3) A snail must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
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Postby hellokitty on Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:20 am

There has to be a study done on this. Our government wastes money on studies all the time. So somewhere i bet the government has done one. Ha ha.
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Postby marusempai on Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:29 am

rpilla001 wrote:1) A snail may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Are you sure? Sometimes they bite. Brig bites are cute and tickley, but haustroms hurt! And what about all the worry they cause us by jumping off of tables and things, or lying on the bottom for days on end? :rofl:
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Postby Donya on Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:33 am

Snails actually wouldn't really fit the sleep model at all, because they have a completely different nervous system that is broken into ganglia rather than a brain. As far as fish and sleep...depends on species. Anyone who's kept clown loaches knows they like to have a good snooze piled on top of each other. Dojo loaches also will do it - that being the only time you can catch them by hand and hold them for longer than a split second. Ditto with goldfish that will go inactive on the bottom. I also have a marine fish right now that has actually made a little nest that it curls up and rests in. All those behaviors combined are probably as close to sleep as you can get with such a different brain structure.

fish didn't have the brain capacity to feel pain?

Pain is a subjective term. There are studies that "prove" it both ways, which demonstrates that you can't really prove much using that concept because it's possible to define it in too many ways. If you use the logic presented in articles that attempt to assert that fish can't feel pain, you can "show" that a lot of non-primates wouldn't feel "pain" because it wouldn't be the same way we perceive it. If pain means perception of physically very negative stimuli and an appropriate response to it (which sponges can't really do for instance), then you pretty much have to grant that to anything with a nervous system and the avility to respond.

EDIT: wanted to clarify the first sentence. When I say the sleep model doesn't apply, I don't mean there isn't a rest state. However, I don't know that anyone's ever really checked to see what kind of a rest state occurs, if it's by ganglia rather than all at once, etc...it would require a different concept since there's not much of a centralized system to shut off, and from what I've seen snails don't require all of their ganalia to function.
"That's not a snail...it's a water goat!"--In loving memory of Eatith
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Postby rpilla001 on Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:47 am

I am proof positive that I do not need all of my ganglia to function!! As a matter of fact I think I am down to only 20% ganglia capacity as I type this.

I am trying to reach a state of enlightenment in which I can function free of all ganglia. The wise buddha say, "One who operates free of the binds of ganglia has indeed reach the nexis to enlightment."

I just like the word ganglia. I have not had a chance to use it since freshman highschool Bio.
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Postby Annie Anderson on Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:38 am

I need to give you my brother's email address Robert. He has been living with virtually no functioning brain cells for over 25 years. And he admits to this and is proud of it. Idiot. :wink:
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