World’s New Smallest Snails Discovered

Mosopefoluwa Opeyemi-Ajayi, Staff Writer

The animal kingdom has gotten a little bigger as scientists have discovered two new snail species the size of a grain of sand. These are now the tiniest land snails on Earth. Their scientific name, Angustopila Psammion, comes from the Greek word for “grain of sand,” reflecting the new record-holder’s miniature size. Their tiny shells measure only 0.6 millimeters in diameter.

The species was found by scientists in large numbers on the wall of a cave in northern Vietnam, according to a study published in January in “Contributions to Zoology.” The other species, nicknamed the A. Coprologos, was discovered in a limestone gorge in northern Laos. This species is slightly larger than A. Psammion, thus making it the second-smallest snail. This odd creature’s shell is enveloped with pointy projections, which are adorned with mud-like beads. Jochum, the co-author of one study, thinks that these are fecal pellets, hence its name from the Greek for “dung gatherer.”

This is a really interesting and neat discovery. I find these little snails pretty cool and I hope we can learn even more about them. The limestone geology of the area also supports a wide diversity of little-studied snails. Scientists also suspect that there could be more undiscovered species out there which would be really cool. I think that these snails are a great addition to the animal kingdom!