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Snails... We have some kind of huge garden snails appearing lately (read since the last 10 years or so). Try as one might, it's impossible to avoid them when driving. These snails do not appear to have red blood - I doubt they have blood at all. Wikipedia tells me blood's red colour is due to haemoglobin - which serves to transport oxygen.

How do snails (and any other animals that do not have red coloured blood) get oxygen? Or, do such animals need no oxygen at all?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Snails, like most molluscs, have a protein called hemocyanin dissolved directly in the hemolymph ("blood"). Hemocyanins are copper-containing metalloproteins: the binding site for a single O2 molecule contains two copper atoms. Unlike hemoglobin, where reversible oxygen binding is accomplished without a change in the oxidation state of the Fe(II) atoms in the heme prosthetic groups, in hemocyanin the copper undergoes a transition from colourless Cu(I) in the deoxygenated state to blue Cu(II) when oxygenated.

Incidentally, there are certain species of fish that manage with little or no hemoglobin - icefish.

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