The structure and functioning of the gut of Pomacea canaliculata (D'Orb.) has been investigated using living and preserved material. Anatomical studies were also carried out on preserved specimens of Pila globosa, Turbinicola saxea and Lanistes ovum bangweolicus.
The gut of pilids is specialised for a macrophagous diet, usually of aquatic angiosperms. The mid-oesophagus is a crop for storage, and the stomach has a large triturating gizzard developed from the gastric shield area. This is the site of extra-cellular digestion; there is no intra-cellular digestion in any part of the gut. The ducts of the digestive gland open into a special region of the stomach, the vestibule, which is histologically similar to them. The style sac begins the compacting of the faeces, which is completed in tho intestine. There is no evidence that absorption ocrurs in the epithelium of tho stomach or intestine; soluble products of digestion are carried into the digestive gland, which is the main site of absorption. Its activity is supplemented by amoebocytes entering the lumen of the style sac and intestine. Two types of cell occur in the gland, one type producing digestive enzymes and absorbing soluble products of digestion, the other type being excretory in function. There is no sign of phagocytosis in either. The excretory activity of the kidney is further supplemented by an anal gland.