Newly discovered Borneo snail shatters tiniest snail record, after the previous holder of the title was only discovered approximately one month before.
Biological diversity is a permanent source of surprise for researchers travelling to remote places on the globe to discover and catalogue species that have been hiding until now.
Borneo is rich in biodiversity. All the flora and fauna there is split in three regions. The Malaysian Borneo, the Indonesian Borneo, with Brunei also sharing part of the island.
In the Malaysian Borneo, a joint team of Malaysian and Dutch researchers found the world’s smallest snail. The mollusk is so tiny it has never been observed in its natural habitat before. Its shell only measures approximately 0.7 mm in diameter. Thus the name of the world’s tiniest snail: Acmella nana. Nanus is the Latin word for dwarf.
If you’re curious to read more on the how the newly discovered Borneo snail shatters tiniest snail record, the research team has prepared a paper which is freely accessible in the ZooKeys journal.
Heading to the Malaysian Borneo, researchers knew where to look for any organisms never catalogued before. The island is home to over 500 snail species, spanning a wide spectrum of sizes, shell shapes and colors. Most are tied to the limestone hills of the island. Their shells have a high composition of calcium carbonate, according to Menno Schilthuizen with the Leiden University, Netherlands, where he is a professor of evolution.
Acmella nana now holds the record for the world’s tiniest snail. The shell, measuring 0.7 mm in diameters is a mere 0.60 mm in width and at most 0.79 mm in height. The miniature snail dethroned Angustopila dominicae (China) which measures 0.80 mm in width and 0.89mm in height. Both under one centimeter, the snails show that a few millimeters do make a difference.
Acmella nana isn’t the only newly discovered species dwelling on the island of Borneo. The same paper lists 48 species. Some have been known to scientists, yet it was only now that they were named. Other seven have just sketched a sign of existence.
These seven snail species only keep to the heights of Mount Kinabalu. One is particularly picky about its home. The Diplommatina tylocheilos is only found at the entrance of the Loloposon Cave at Mount Trusmandi.
Photo Credits: Flickr