Growth Potency of Statoconia (Otoliths) in the Organ of Equilibrium of Gastropod Mollusks in Weightlessness (Statoconia (Otoconium)) - 11.22.16

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Statokonia (Statoconia) investigates the development of gravity sensing organs called statoconia in snails. Snails use these organs to sense gravity and are responsible for the snail's normal preference for downward crawling on a vertical plate on Earth. Earlier studies have shown that snails that hatch and develop in space will form larger statoconia to compensate for the reduced gravity levels there.
Science Results for Everyone
Great gravity-detecting gastropods! Snails use organs called statoconia to sense gravity and to crawl down a vertical surface. This investigation found that the size of the organ depends on gravitational force, increasing in weightlessness and decreasing as gravity increases. The work produced new information on the structure and elemental composition of stataconia, and the location of the organ’s sensitive cells in addition to its mass in two types of snails. With this information, researchers will be able to use these snails as models in future space biology studies.

The following content was provided by G. I. Gorgiladze, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
G. I. Gorgiladze, Ph.D., Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of Russian Academy of Sciences (IMBP RAS), Russia

Information Pending

Information Pending

Sponsoring Space Agency
Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
October 2004 - October 2007

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

^ back to top

Experiment Description

Research Overview
Information Pending

Study of ultrastructure, composition by elements and morphometry of statokonias. Study of statokonia regeneration and growth.

^ back to top


Space Applications
Information Pending

Earth Applications
Information Pending

^ back to top


Operational Requirements and Protocols
Ulitka Incubator, ART Pouch.
Bring Snails into microgravity environment for an extended period of time, then return to Earth.

^ back to top

Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

^ back to top

Results/More Information

The incubator Ulitka delivered back to Earth, and information concerning the experiment conditions made available by means of the independently operating temperature recorder.

^ back to top

Results Publications

    Gorgiladze GI, Bukiya RD, Kozyrev SA, Kalandarishvili EL.  Structural/functional organization of the statocyst in Helix lucorum in normal conditions and conditions of a changing gravitational field. XIII Conference Space Biology and Aerospace Medicine, Moscow, Russia; 2006 June 13-16 81-82.

    Gorgiladze GI, Bukiya RD, Davitashvili MT, Taktakishvili AD, Gelashvili NS, Kalandarishvili EL, Satdykova GP.  Morphological Peculiarities Statoconia in Statocysts of Terrestrial Pulmonary Snail Helix Lucorum  . Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine. 2010 July 17; 149(2): 269-272. DOI: 10.1007/s10517-010-0924-1. [Translated from Byulleten’ Eksperimental’noi Biologii i Meditsiny, Vol. 149, No. 2, pp. 236–240, February, 2010]

    Gorgiladze GI, Bukiya RD, Davitashvili MT, Kalandarishvili EL, Taktakishvili AD, Gelashvili NS, Madzhagaladze NB, Kiladze MT, Sokolov NG.  The destructive impact of increased gravitational force on the inertial mass in statocysts of Helix lucorum. Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences. 2006; 406(3): 416-418.

    Gorgiladze GI.  Morphological features of the inertial mass in statocysts of the terrestrial gastropods Helix lucorum and Pomatias rivulare exposed to microgravity    . Doklady Biological Sciences. 2010 08/17/2010; 433(1): 271-274. DOI: 10.1134/S0012496610040101. [Original Russian Text © G.I. Gorgiladze, 2010, published in Doklady Akademii Nauk, 2010, Vol. 433, No. 4, pp. 566–569.]

    Gorgiladze GI.  Regenerative capacity of the planarian Girardia tigrina and the snail Helix lucorum exposed to microgravity during an orbital flight on board the international space station    . Doklady Biological Sciences. 2008 08/20/2008; 421(1): 244-247. DOI: 10.1134/S0012496608040078. [Original Russian Text © G.I. Gorgiladze, 2008, published in Doklady Akademii Nauk, 2008, Vol. 421, No. 1, pp. 131–134.]

    Bukiya RD, Taktakishvili AD, Kalandarishvili EL, Gorgiladze GI.  Morphological features of the cellular components of the statocyst in the land snail Helix lucorum. Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of Georgia: Biological series A. 2005; 31(6): 815-822.

    Bukiya RD, Gorgiladze GI, Taktakishvili AD, Kalandarishvili EL.  Light and electron microscopy of cellular components in statocysts of the land snail Helix lucorum. Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Biological series. 2010.

^ back to top

Ground Based Results Publications

^ back to top

ISS Patents

^ back to top

Related Publications

    Balaban PM, Malyshev AY, Ierusalimsky VN, Aseyev N, Korshunova TA, Bravarenko NI, Lemak MS, Roshchin M, Zakharov IS, Popova Y, Boyle RD.  Functional Changes in the Snail Statocyst System Elicited by Microgravity. PLOS ONE. 2011 03/29/2011; 6(3): e17710. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017710.

^ back to top

Related Websites
Energia - Science Research on the ISS Russian Segment

^ back to top


image Ulitka Incubator.
+ View Larger Image

image ART pouch.
+ View Larger Image