Scientists have revealed exciting news discovered while studying Japanese white-eyes birds on the Island of Hahajima, Japan.
After they enjoy their tasty feast of tiny land snails, the small snails are then able to survive intact after being digested after being found alive in the birds’ droppings.
Although it has been well established that plant seeds are dispersed by fruit-eating birds, This latest evidence now suggests that bird predation could be the key factor in how the snail populations spread.
Research in the past has shown how pond snails can survive after being consumed by fish but until now it was unknown that land snails could survive the same way.
To find out the researchers fed the birds with snails to discover whether they could live through the birds digestive process.
“We were surprised that a high-rate, about 15 per cent of snails were still alive after passing through the gut of the birds”.
“Biogeography of wingless terrestrial invertebrates, in particular snails, is often faced with mysterious long distance dispersal patterns that can only be explained by hand waving arguments involving birds’ feet, guts, or cyclones.
“This is the first study showing that birds can indeed transport a substantial number of micro-snails in their gut alive.
“One of the snails fed to the bird gave birth to juveniles just after passing through the gut proving how snails were able to travel over distances via bird dropping”, said researcher Shinichiro Wada.