World’s smallest snail record broken again

LATEST IN LITTLEST A drawing shows the form of a newly named snail species, Borneo’s Acmella nana. These snails are so tiny, their shells fit between the letters of the journal article that describes them.


Tiny, meet tiniest. The record for the world’s smallest known snail has been broken just over a month after its announcement. The latest champ: a new species a full 0.3 millimeters smaller.

The new winner is a mere pinhead of a gastropod named Acmella nana. Found in Borneo, the snail grows a shell 0.5 to 0.6 millimeters in diameter, researchers report November 2 in ZooKeys.

Its white shell has “some nice spiral lines,” but otherwise it’s not the most spectacular looking of Malaysian snails, says codescriber Menno Schilthuizen of Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Leiden University in the Netherlands.

The previous record holder for smallest snail was Angustopila dominikae from China, described September 28. 

Susan Milius is the life sciences writer, covering organismal biology and evolution, and has a special passion for plants, fungi and invertebrates. She studied biology and English literature.

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