Minute snail species found

A snail has been discovered that is so tiny 10 of them could fit side-by-side in the eye of a needle.

Angustopila dominikae, whose shell measures 0.86mm, is possibly the world’s smallest land snail.

It was one of seven “microsnail” species found at the base of limestone rocks in Guangxi province, southern China.

Surprisingly, Angustopila dominikae has some very big relatives — giant African land snails that are nine million times larger by volume.

Another of the newly described species, Angustopila subelevata, measures 0.87mm. The scientists led by Barna Pall-Gergely from Shinshu University in Japan, wrote in the journal ZooKeys: “Extremes in body size of organisms not only attract attention from the public, but also incite interest regarding their adaptation to their environment.

“Investigating tiny-shelled land snails is important for assessing biodiversity and natural history as well as for establishing the foundation for studying the evolution of dwarfism in invertebrate animals,” he said.

A species called Ammonicera minortalis holds the small size record, ranging in length from 0.32mm to 0.46mm.


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