Scientists Discover World's Tiniest Land Snails

October 6, 2015 | Sarah Tse

World's smallest land snail
Photo credit: Dr. Barna Páll-Gergely, Nikolett Szpisjak

10 of these newly discovered land snails can fit in the eye of a needle!

While examining soil samples in Southern China, a international team of scientists discovered unbelievably tiny snail shells measuring just 0.86 mm high. Named after the first author's wife, Angustopila dominikae sets a new record for the world's smallest land snails, with a second species called Angustopila subelevata following close behind at 0.87 mm high. 

There are very few reports of such miniscule molluscs, partially because the shells are so delicate that it's hard to find them intact. Encountering living specimens is even more difficult, so scientists still know very little about the physiology and evolutionary relationships of these diminutive species. Aside from their sensationally small size, these snails are of interest to scientists studying adaptation and changes in biodiversity, since they may react differently to environmental pressures than larger organisms.

Hot Topics

Facebook comments