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Our recent studies of the sensory ecology, tidal migrations, biomechanics, and feeding behavior of swash-surfing snails in beach ecosystems of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Peru, and Texas demonstrate that numerous aspects of the ecology and behavior of Bullia, the South-African text-book cliche of a swash-surfing gastropod, cannot be generalized and transferred to new-world taxa. For example, American swash-surfing snails include suspension feeders and predators that actively hunt, but no scavengers such as Bullia that rely on dead organisms stranded on the beach. As a consequence, olfactory senses seem to play a negligible role in the tidal migrations of American species. In this contribution, we will present results from our current research, focusing on the morphological diversity of the 'underwater sails' used by different taxa, and its biomechanic consequences in an ecological context.

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