1. Developmental Biology
  2. Neuroscience
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The Natural History of Model Organisms: The unlimited potential of the great pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis

  1. István Fodor
  2. Ahmed AA Hussein
  3. Paul R Benjamin
  4. Joris M Koene
  5. Zsolt Pirger  Is a corresponding author
  1. NAP Adaptive Neuroethology, Department of Experimental Zoology, Balaton Limnological Institute, Centre for Ecological Research, Hungary
  2. Department of Ecological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands
  3. Sussex Neuroscience, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
  4. Section of Animal Ecology, Department of Ecological Science, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
Feature Article
Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e56962 doi: 10.7554/eLife.56962
3 figures and 1 table


Geographical distribution of L. stagnalis.

Places where this species of snail has been reported to occur (hexagons), shaded based on population density (white indicates low density and dark grey indicates high density; source data from GBIF Secretariat, 2019).

Life cycle and wild reproductive habit of L. stagnalis.

(A) The embryonic development in the egg from zygote to hatching (over 11–12 days) is depicted in the white area of the life cycle and consists of six main stages: cleavage, blastula, gastrula, trochophore, veliger and metamorphosis (Source data from Ivashkin et al., 2015). The grey area of the life cycle depicts growth and development after hatching. Although L. stagnalis is a simultaneous hermaphrodite, the male reproductive organs are functional before the female ones (Koene and Ter Maat, 2004): specimens reach male and female maturation on average at an age of 30 and 60 days, respectively (based on Koene, 2010). (B) In the wild, generations only partly overlap, as depicted by the two dotted growth curves (top; based on Nakadera et al., 2015). Individuals that are born during spring and summer, overwinter as adults (light grey dotted line) after which they overlap with the adult generation of the next year (black dotted line). The external conditions such as light and temperature (middle), which strongly influence when egg laying occurs (bottom), are depicted for the situation in a typical temperate zone.

The central nervous system and identified single neurons of L. stagnalis.

(A) Schematic map (dorsal view) of the isolated whole central nervous system that is formed of the paired (left and right) buccal (LB, RB), cerebral (LC, RC), pedal (LPe, RPe), pleural (LPl, RPl), parietal (LPa, RPa) and unpaired visceral (V) ganglia. (B) Isolated central nervous system showing the arrangement of the 11 interconnected ganglia. Brightly pigmented orange-coloured neurons are localised on the surfaces of the ganglia. (C) Identified single neurons: B4 (left), B3 (right; motor neurons responsible for the implementation of feeding), CGC (interneuron in cerebral ganglia modulating the feeding and learning) and RPeD1 (interneuron in pedal ganglia regulating the respiration and heartbeat).


Table 1
List of some of the most important (neuro)peptides identified in L. stagnalis.
MoleculeAbbreviationFunctionAccession numberReference
caudodorsal cell hormonesCDCHreproductionP06308Vreugdenhil et al., 1988
FMRFamidesFMRFreproduction, cardiac controlP19802Linacre et al., 1990
conopressin-reproductionAAB35220Van Kesteren et al., 1995
neuropeptide YNPYreproduction, developmentCAB63265De Jong-Brink et al., 1999
actin-related diaphanous genes (1, 2)dia 1, dia 2development, chiralityKX387869, KX387870
KX387871, KX387872
Kuroda et al., 2016
insulin-related peptides
(I, II, III, V, VII)
MIPsdevelopmentCAA41989; P25289; AAB28954; AAA09966; AAB46831Smit et al., 1991; Smit et al., 1992; Smit et al., 1993b; Smit et al., 1996; Smit et al., 1998
sodium stimulating hormoneSISion and water controlP42579Smit et al., 1993a
small cardioactive peptideSCPfeeding, cardiac controlAAC99318Perry et al., 1999
myomodulinMIPfeeding, cardiac controlCAA65635Kellett et al., 1996
pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide-like moleculePACAP-likelearning and memory-Pirger et al., 2010
cAMP response element-binding proteins (1, 2)CREB 1
learning and memoryAB041522; AB083656Sadamoto et al., 2004
glutathione reductase and peroxidaseGred
metabolic detoxificationFJ418794,
Bouétard et al., 2014
catalaseCATmetabolic detoxificationFJ418795Bouétard et al., 2014
superoxide dismutaseSODmetabolic detoxificationAY332385Zelck et al., 2005
heat-shock proteinHSP70stress responseDQ206432Fei et al., 2007
molluscan defence moleculeMDMimmune systemAAC47132Hoek et al., 1996
allograft inflammatory factor-1AIF-1immune systemDQ278446van Kesteren et al., 2006

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