SEP 30, 2015 01:33 PM PDT

Check Out the World's Smallest Snail Species

Snails are awesome little creatures. They’re like slugs, but they have a protective shell that they can retract into when they feel threatened. The shell is essentially the snail’s protective home, and it lives and sleeps inside of it. Snails take their homes with them everywhere they go, right on their back.
 
Interestingly however, scientists appear to have discovered a new species of snail in Southern China while taking soil samples for another scientific project, but what makes these snails so special isn’t their shell, per-se, but instead, it’s their size.
 
The small snail, being called the Angustopila dominikae is so small that ten of them could fit inside of the hair-thin eye of a sewing needle, as shown in the picture below:
 

Here you see the smallest known species of land snail in the eye of a sewing needle.


The shell itself measures in at a mere .86mm, making them what scientists believe are the smallest land snails ever discovered. As a result, they’re being referred to as “Microsnails.” It’s difficult to see them with the naked eye, but it’s absolutely possible to do so. They’re best seen under a magnifying lens of some kind for the best detail.
 
These are probably the best example for how small a snail can get, because the requirements for the snail’s body are so many of certain kinds of cells, which take up X amount of space, and any fewer cells would mean incomplete organs or incomplete body parts. After all, cells are only so small.
 
The reason that they are so small baffles experts. There is really no evolutionary reason for why they are the size that they are; being so small makes them easy targets for critters looking for a quick snack.
 
“Extremes in body size of organisms not only attract attention from the public, but also incite interest regarding their adaptation to their environment,” lead author Páll-Gergely, from Shinshu University in Japan, and his team wrote. “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 (lacking a backbone) animals.”
 
Along with the Angustopila dominikae, six other species of microsnails were discovered in the area, including the Angustopila subelevata, which is only slightly larger than the latter.
 
Little is known about these microsnails at this point in time, including what they might survive on, or why they’re there, but scientists hope to learn more over time by studying the animals.

Source: Discovery News

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 11, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
NOV 11, 2018
Bee Study Connects Social Behavior with Gene Variants
Researchers used a special kind of bee that can live in either social communities or isolation, as their research model....
NOV 19, 2018
Videos
NOV 19, 2018
The Amazon's worst enemy
Brazil has a new leader, and he could be the Amazon’s biggest enemy yet. President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to sell off large portions of the rainf...
NOV 29, 2018
Microbiology
NOV 29, 2018
Bacteria may Explain the Symbiotic Relationship of Anemones & Clownfish
Sea anemones normally kill and eat fish. But clownfish can nestle into anemones without getting stung....
DEC 15, 2018
Videos
DEC 15, 2018
How Bacteria Help Clean the Georgia Aquarium
At the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, the waste generated by over 700 species of animals has to be filtered out of the aquatic environment....
JAN 05, 2019
Earth & The Environment
JAN 05, 2019
Why aren't Monarchs making it to Mexico anymore?
Monarch butterflies are famous for their long migrations, typically overwintering in the mountains of central Mexico and migrating to eastern North America...
JAN 14, 2019
Technology
JAN 14, 2019
How Math Can Save Endangered Species
Due to many contributing factors one of which is climate change, today the risk of extinction poses stronger than ever with species like the blue whale, Be...
Loading Comments...