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Investigation On The Habituation Of Snails To Touch

2924 words - 12 pages

To investigate the habituation of snails to harmless stimulus.
To develop problem solving and experimental skills, for example, information is accurately processed and presented, experimental procedures are planned, designed and evaluated properly, producing valid results, recording results, and valid conclusion is drawn.
To learn the correct way of poking the snail.

Problem Statement:
When a garden snail is touched, it withdraws its eye stalks into its body quickly. This is a quick response of the snail to avoid dangers and ensure survival. Do snails habituate to the stimulus of touch with repeated stimulation?


The main objective of this experiment is to investigate the habituation of snails to touch stimulus. The main method used in this experiment is to touch the part of the snail between their eye stalk. The time taken for the eye stalks to enter and re-emerge from the shell is measured by using a stopwatch. This step is then repeated until the snail no longer withdraws its eye stalks into the shell. The main result in this experiment is that the time taken for the snail to enter and re-emerged from the shell decreases with every poking done. Therefore, it is to conclude that a snail can be habituated with a harmless stimulus.

“Snail is a common name for all members of the molluscan class Gastropoda which have coiled shells on their back in the adult stage.” (Wikipedia, 2010) This includes land snails and snails that live in water. In this experiment, we use the common type of land snails which are also known as the garden snails. Snails are used in this habituation investigation because they are slow-moving animals and thus, making them easier to be caught and handled. Besides, the snails have two pairs of tentacles on their head. The upper tentacles are the eye stalks. The eyes of the snails are located in these upper tentacles. On the other hand, the lower pair of tentacles acts as olfactory organs. Besides, the snails can be found very easily under damp rocks or leaves and they are easy to be taken care of. (Wikipedia, 2010)

Habituation is a simple form of learning of the animal. It occurs when the calcium ions channel in the synapses become less responsive due to repeated stimulation and nerve impulse stop transmitting. (Fullick, 2009). Thus, when the animal becomes habituated to a stimulus, it means that they no longer feel the stimulus but the stimulus is still present. Habituation is a very important learning process in many simple animals for protection and survival. It is important in filtering the large amounts of information received from the surrounding environment, thus, an animal can focus on the most important features of its environment, such as feeding and mating. (Breed, 2001)

In nature, we can see the process of habituation in human babies. Very young babies will give a reaction called Moro reflex when they are...

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