Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Additional Departmental Affiliation

Modern Languages

Document Type



A radula is an anatomical structure found exclusively in mollusks that acts as both tongue and teeth in feeding. Its structure has been studied for more than a century, yet published methods for identifying, dissecting, and cleaning radulae for microscopy are almost unintelligible to anyone not already familiar with molluscan anatomy. The purpose of this project was to identify the best method of garden slug radula isolation and present it in a manner that anyone could understand and successfully use.

After identifying the location of the radula in the slug, the easiest means of removal proved to be simply regurgitating the radula by applying pressure to the slug's body. This pressure was applied using a probe or needle positioned horizontally and firmly pressing from tail to head with a swiping motion. The exserted radula was then cut from the slug with a scalpel and repeatedly rinsed with deionized water. Each excised radula was cleaned of tissue by incubating in a protease solution, then rinsed with DI water and stored in 25% ethanol. For mounting, each radula was placed onto a glass slide to dry before affixing to a scanning electron microscopy (SEM) stub with mounting tape. Finally, the stub was sputter coated and viewed in the SEM. A short web video was created to help anyone with interest in learning this procedure.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

John Andersland, Ph.D.


Biology | Other Cell and Developmental Biology