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The Tiniest Snails in the World Discovered in China Break Records

First Posted: Sep 29, 2015 11:17 AM EDT
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Researchers may have uncovered the smallest snail in the world. The miniscule snails, which were collected in China, are so small that they are called "microsnails."

The tiny snails were actually found at the base of limestone rocks in Guangxi Province, Southern China. There, the researchers found several minute empty grey shells that measured an astounding height of less than 1 mm.

"Extremes in body size of organisms not only attract attention from the public, but also incite interest regarding their adaptation to their environment," write the researchers in a news release. "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."

The snail is called Angustopila dominikae, and at .86 mm in shell heights it's possible the world's smallest land snail species. There are very few reported instances of species demonstrating this degree of tininess in the animal world.

"We hope that these results provide the taxonomic groundwork for future studies concerning the evolution of dwarfism in invertebrates," write the researchers.

The findings reveal a bit more about this tiny species. In addition, they set up the framework for future findings concerning these minute snails.

The findings are published in the journal ZooKeys.

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