Sighting Details

Sighting image
  • Glow-in-the-dark snail

    Quantula striata / dyakia striata

Recorded By: Beng Tang
Category: Mollusc
Date Spotted: 6 Dec 2018


This native snail is the only know bioluminescent land snail in the world. This ability to produce light was discovered by Dr. Yata Haneda, a Japanese scientist who was staying at Goodwood Park hotel during the Japanese occupation in 1942 and saw one there glowing in the dark. From wikipedia: The purpose of the snail's bioluminescence is not yet fully understood, but it is thought to have some relation to animal communication. Light is emitted by an organ known as the "organ of Haneda," located in the head-foot region of the adult snail. This organ consists of a 0.5 mm-wide cluster of giant cells and is a part of the suprapedal gland. The snail flashes while it is moving, and half as intensely when it is feeding, and does not flash when it is inactive. Flashes lasts 0.5–6.0 s.
The light produced is yellow-green, with a wavelength of about 515 nm. The substance which produces it had not yet been identified. Isobe at al. (1991) stated that the fluorescent substance "may be similar to flavin".
The eggs of this species glow, and so do newly hatched snails. Juveniles can produce flashes of light, as can most, but not all, adults.