GASTROPODA, the second of the five classes of animals constituting the phylum Mollusca.
For a discussion of the relationship of the Gastropoda to the remaining classes of the phylum, see MoLLUSCA.
The Gastropoda are mainly characterized by a loss of symmetry, produced by torsion of the visceral sac. This torsion may be resolved into two successive movements.
The essential feature of the asymmetry of Gastropoda is the atrophy or disappearance of the primitively left half of the circumanal complex (the right half in sinistral forms), including the gill, the auricle, the osphradium, the hypobranchial gland and the kidney.
This conclusion has shown that the Euthyneura do not represent an archaic form of Gastropoda, but are themselves derived from streptoneurous forms. The difference between the two sub-classes has been shown to be slight; certain of the more archaic Tectibranchia (Actaeon) and Pulmonata (Chilina) still have the visceral commissure long and not untwisted.
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