Any of various carnivorous or herbivorous mollusks of the class Gastropoda, having a head with eyes and feelers and a muscular foot on the underside of its body with which it moves. Most gastropods are aquatic, but some have adapted to life on land. Gastropods include snails, which have a coiled shell, and slugs, which have a greatly reduced shell or none at all.
Word History Snails, conchs, whelks, and many other similar animals with shells are all called gastropods by scientists. The word gastropod comes from Greek and means “stomach foot,” a name that owes its existence to the unusual anatomy of snails. Snails have a broad flat muscular “foot” used for support and for forward movement. This foot runs along the underside of the animal—essentially along its belly. The Greek elements gastro–, “stomach,” and –pod, “foot,” are found in many other scientific names, such as gastritis (an inflammation of the stomach) and sauropod (“lizard foot,” a type of dinosaur).