Suggestions needed to test Memory in Snails

Snail is found to be attracted towards some leaves such as coriander leaves, Manasi from Mumbai is trying to study behavior of snails using coriander leaves.
When coriander leaves are kept in-front of snail, it moves towards them to eat it.
Now Manasi is designing an experiment where she mixes quinine (a bitter tasting chemical) with coriander leaves and keeps infront of Snail.
The snail initially gets attracted to the leaves, and tastes it. But as it tastes it finds the taste of it very bitter and unlikable and withdraws its tentacles and body away from coriander leaves mixed with quinine.

Manasi is asking a question, how long snail will have the memory of this bitter experience?
How long the snail will keep moving away from even a normal coriander leaves without any quinine.

Manasi is planning experiment to check memory in snails.
Please help Manasi by providing suggestions here on how could she design the experiment to test memory in snails?


The ability of animals to learn and remember can directly impact the animal’s fitness in different environments. Snails are great models to study memory and learning because of their simple nervous systems that results in relatively simple behaviors that are both interesting and trainable. I have a couple of suggestions on how to tackle this project:

  1. Start with three groups of snails:
  • Training group 1: These snails will be exposed to Coriander only
  • Training group 2: These snails will be exposed to Coriander + quinine
  • Control group: These snails will not be exposed to either Coriander or Coriander + quinine

With these three groups, you can study memory in during a positive experience (that is exposure to Coriander) and in response to stress (that is exposure to Coriander + quinine)

  1. I think memory is significantly enhanced when we are doing something repeatedly. The frequency and timings of these repetitions might also matter. You can start by training the snails at regular intervals. For example, Training group 1 can be exposed to Coriander 3 or 5 times with 1 or 2 hour gap between each exposure. You can play around with these numbers.

  2. To learn about the memory, you have compare the timings of attraction and defensive-withdrawal movements. For example:

  • For Training group 1, you will have to leave the snail at a specific or measured distance from the Coriander containing plate and measure how long it takes for the snail to find the food.
  • For Training group 2, you will have to measure the timing of the defensive retraction upon exposure to the stress.
  1. You will train the snails on the first day, and test memory on the next day relative to the control group.
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When The snail Tastes it , Found It bitter , it Remembers it . Then secretly Take another coriander leaf and put it their in a way Snail Doesn’t Realize It’s Another leaf , So snail Won’t be attracted as it is thinking it is the quinine leaf . Notice when it starts to attract again , When it does , The time period between When the snail Tasted the quinine and When it came back to taste Is The Time period Of memory of a snail . Hope this may Help

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Great design…
Hope Manasi follow your suggestions…