Contrary to most aquatic snails, ampullaridae have developped a breathing system that is similar to ours. They are not equipped to breathe well underwater - their lungs are not fully built to process this element. To fill them with air, the ampullariidae are forced to come close to the surface and "inhale". As predators are always waiting for an occasion to eat them, they may extend a tube that  works as an air pump.  This does not mean that snails do not possess lungs, as they do, but the latter do not suffice if the water lacks oxygen.

When necessary, the ampullariidae move to the surface and pump as much air as their lungs can contain.


Siphon extension near surface     siphon extension far from surface

                                                       Copyright © 1999 D.J.Riebesell