Snails hatch from eggs and are born with a rudimentary shell.
The protoconch or embryonic shell has a different sculptural pattern to the rest of the shell. This is the part of the shell the snail has when it is born.
The protoconch is visible even on adult shells.
Giant Panda snails hatch from eggs the size of marbles. The embryonic shell is easily visible even on this adult animal.
As snails grow, they enlarge their shell and more whorls can be seen. In many species, when they fully mature, some species develop a ‘lip’ on the edge of the shell opening.
Slugs and semi-slugs follow a similar development.