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World’s Smallest Snail Record Broken

This is Acmella nana hiding among the small print of the ZooKeys paper where it is described. (Prof. Dr. Menno Schilthuizen, Naturalis Biodiversity Center)

The race to hold the title of world’s smallest snail just got more interesting.

Writing in the journal ZooKeys, Dutch and Malaysian researchers say a new snail, Acmella nana, is now the smallest. .

The researchers say the new snail, which was found in Malaysian Borneo, has a shell that is only between .5 and .6 millimeters wide and between .6 and .79 millimeters tall.

That means Acmella nana unseats the previous record holder, the Chinese Angustopila dominikae, which measured 0.80mm wide and 0.89mm tall.

The new snail was just one of 48 new species described in the paper.

Since snails move so slowly they can get “stuck” in small isolated areas long enough to “evolve and adapt” to the unique surroundings, the researchers said.

For example, some of the snails described live on isolated mountain tops or in “rare vegetation,” said the researchers, adding that seven of the new species are only found on the top of one mountain, 4,095-metre-high Mount Kinabalu. Another lives only at the mouth of a remote cave, researchers said.