Nautilus

Does Singing to Sea Snails Really Draw Them Out?

As a child in Maine, I spent a lot of time exploring the tide pools jutting out from Rice Point, the beach where my extended family hosted noisy lobster picnics. Every so often I would unstick a periwinkle (Littorina littorea), a common kind of sea snail, from a rock, let it tumble into my palm, then sing into my cupped hand. The small, slimy creature inside would gradually emerge, swaying to my voice like a cobra to a snake charmer’s flute.

I didn’t discover this trick on my own. The belief that singing draws out periwinkles has its roots in urban (or

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