New Tiniest Snail Discovered In Borneo

Posted: Nov 2 2015, 9:44pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
World’s Tiniest Snail Discovered Again
Credit: MENNO SCHILTHUIZEN, NATURALIS BIODIVERSITY CENTER

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The new tiniest snail has been discovered in Borneo along with 47 other varying snail species.

The new champion of the world’s tiniest snail competition has been announced.

Less than a month after the discovery of the smallest snail in China, scientists have found a new tiniest snail in Borneo, an island in Malaysia.

The tiniest snail species called Acmela Nana is only about half a millimeter wide and 0.60 to 0.79 mm in height and it’s among those 48 new minute snail species that have been discovered by a team of Malaysian and Dutch biologists. The detailed description of each of the species has been published in latest issue of open-access journal ZooKeys.

The new tiny snail has a “shell minute, thin, translucent white” with a shiny surface and resides in the forest of limestone area.

The previous record holder was the Chinese Angustopila Dominikae which was measured just 0.80 and 0.89 mm respectively.

All of the newly discovered snail species are endemic to Borneo. They are widespread in the region but have not been spotted in any other part of the world. For instance, Acmela Nana is restricted to the south side of the limestone area. Another species Diplommatina Tylocheilos only lives at the entrance of the hardly accessible Loloposon cave in Mount Trusmadi. There are seven other new species only found on Mount Kinabalu at the height of 4,095 meters.

Local biologists were already aware of the presence of many new snail species, but had not done extensive field work, classified and named them until now.

Scientists suggest that these varying snail species alongside new dwarf or “nanus” one can easily start living in very small patches of habitat. They can adapt to the limited area and evolved there. With that, they can be distributed in other parts of the world.

Being endemic to Malaysia, these snails are facing a potential threat to sudden disappearance. Thus, efforts to conserve and distribute these snails are critically needed.

“A blazing forest fire at the Loloposon Cave could wipe out the entire population of Diplommatina tylocheilos.” Co-author Dr. Menno Schilthuizen said.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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