World's Smallest Land Snail Species Discovered in China

Posted on September 28, 2015

Microsnail species in the eye of a needle

Scientists have discovered the world's smallest land snail species in China. Ten of the tiny snails could fit in the eye of a sewing needle. The snail is just 0.86 mm in shell height.

The microsnails were discovered by scientists Barna Pall-Gergely and Takahiro Asami from Shinshu University, Adrienne Jochum, University and Natural History Museum of Bern, and Andras Hunyadi. They were found while the scientists were examining soil samples found at the base of limestone rocks in Guangxi Province, Southern China.

Angustopila dominikae

Seven tiny new land snail species were discovered. The smallest of the species is Angustopila dominikae (pictured above), which has the 0.86 mm tall shell. The number of existing species of these microsnails is not yet known.

The researchers say in statement, "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."

A research paper on the new snail species was found here in the journal, ZooKeys.

Photos: Dr. Barna Pall-Gergely and Nikolett Szpisjak

More from Science Space & Robots