Bumblebees of the Sea

I recently acquired two dozen bumblebee snails (Pusiostoma mendicaria) to supplement my reef tank’s “clean-up crew.”

13B Bumblebee Snails

Bumblebee snails are native to the shallow, reef-filled waters of Fiji and other tropical islands. They’re small (about the size of a jelly belly) and considered “reef safe” because they don’t eat living corals or fish. Instead, these opportunistic omnivores feed mostly on detritus and “leftovers” (meaning uneaten fish food … or what it becomes a few hours later).

Like most invertebrates, the bumblebees went through a 45-minute acclimatization drip before I introduced them to the tank. This ensured that their systems had time to adjust to differences in temperature and salinity.

13B Bumblebees acclimating

(The flexible tubing connects to my tank, and the little blue head on the end allows me to set and adjust the rate of flow. The larger shell at the center is a halloween hermit who came home the same day as the snails.)

After the drip came the drop – right into the reef, where the bumblebees quickly made themselves at home. Most have selected caves that serve as “home base” during the day. The snails venture out mostly at feeding time and at night.

13B Bumblebee snail on rock

As snails go, the bumblebees are one of a few that meet with almost universal approval. Most people I know don’t normally call any kind of mollusc “cute” – but for bumblebees, I think most would make an exception.

What do you think? Are the bumblebees cute, or is a snail by another name still just a snail?


3 thoughts on “Bumblebees of the Sea

  • February 5, 2013 at 5:55 am

    I actually think most snails are cute (in a way), but those bumblebees are adorable!

  • February 6, 2013 at 6:42 am

    They look like “halloween” candy cane. Cute.

    • February 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      They do look a little like that! They’re fun little guys, fairly active in the evening.

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