Borneo Snail Sets the Record for the World's Tiniest Mollusk

First Posted: Nov 03, 2015 08:34 AM EST

The world's tiniest snail has officially been found in Borneo. Researchers have uncovered a minute shell with an average diameter of .7 mm that makes it the smallest new snail to be found.

The world's tiniest snail-and not just the species-has a shell of merely .5 to .6 mm width and .6 to .79 mm height. The previous holder of the world's smallest snail was the Chinese Angustopila dominikae, which measured just .8 and .89 mm respectively.

The new snail is named Acmella nana, and was found in Borneo. It's just part of the new 48 species of snails that had been familiar to researchers for years, but hadn't been properly named and described before now.

The new information tells researchers a bit more about isolated, or endemic, species such as the new record-holder. Moving so slowly, snails can easily get stuck in very small patches of a habitat. There, they can spend long enough to evolve and adapt to the particular limited area, undisturbed by the rest of the world. This makes them excellent examples of how endemic species can arise.

With that said, this also means these species are at risk of events that would wipe out an entire population in one blow. This makes them prime targets for biodiversity conservation. For example, a forest fire at Loloposon Cave could wipe out the entire population of Diplommatina tylocheilos.

The findings are published in the journal ZooKeys.

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