Hitchhiking snails

Long before there was a Panama Canal, at least two marine snails made a fantastic journey between oceans, crossing not on land or water but in the air — all in the belly of a bird. “Just as people use airplanes to fly overseas, marine snails may have used birds to fly over land,” said Mark Torchin, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Sometimes such events trigger devastating biological invasions -introducing new diseases, wiping out resident species or causing economic damage to food crops.

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