This may be the world’s tiniest snail

tiny snail shell

A new snail species, Angustopila dominikae, measures in at a minuscule 0.86 millimeters in shell height.

Barna Páll-Gergely

A teeny, tiny shell that turned up in a soil sample from China may belong to one of the world’s smallest land snails, researchers report September 28 in ZooKeys

Scientists surveying China’s Guangxi region for small mollusks found seven new species of “microsnails,” which have shells smaller than 5 millimeters. Among these, several small gray shells measured below a millimeter in height, but one shell stood out — at a mere 0.86 millimeters tall.

At that size, it could very well be home to the smallest known snail in the world. Though the scientists did not find any live specimens (a common problem when hunting for small mollusks), they hypothesize that the shell belongs to a novel species, dubbed Angustopila dominkae

Helen Thompson

Helen Thompson is the multimedia editor. She has undergraduate degrees in biology and English from Trinity University and a master’s degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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