Some snails wear jackets made of algae to protect them from the sun

A snail with an algal coat

A turban snail modelling an algal coat

Osamu Kagawa

Beach life can be tough for creatures that endure ocean tides every day. One species of marine snail, however, appears to have found a clever way of coping with the dramatic changes in conditions – they wear heatproof coats.

A type of turban snail, so-called because of the shape of their shells, is often found on rocky shorelines around Japan covered in a mat of green algae. While most turban snails will eagerly feast upon algae, Lunella coreensis accumulates it as a vegetative jacket as they grow, until …