Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Tiniest Snail Ever Found Could Fit Through Needle's Eye 10 Times

by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | September 28, 2015 02:36pm ET

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Who knows? But 10 Angustopila dominikae snails can fit within the eye of a needle. 

The newly discovered snail species, found in China, may be the world's smallest land snail. The height of its shell is only 0.03 inches (0.86 millimeters), making it a mere crumb of a creature. 

The tiny snails are part of a group called microgastropods, which are snails shorter than 0.2 inches (0.5 mm). This is a large group, according to Barna Páll-Gergely of Shinshu University in Japan and colleagues, who wrote in 2014 in the journal ZooKeys that snails this small account for most of the diversity in tropical land snails. Previous microsnails discovered by the researchers measured just a millimeter or so (0.04 inches) in shell height; they've also discovered a snail less than 0.08 inches (2 mm) in height that lives, as far as anyone knows, only in one cave in South Korea.

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