Meet the world’s tiniest snail
M. Schilthuizen/Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Meet the world’s tiniest snail

In the rainforests of Borneo, the smallest land snail known to science ekes out a secret existence in limestone cracks. At least, that’s where researchers think they live. Scientists have only ever found their shells, translucent granules 0.60 to 0.79 mm high scattered at the base of cliffs. The team behind the discovery has named the minute gastropod Acmella nana (pictured, next to 12-point font), and described it—along with 47 other new Bornean snail species—in an article published online today in ZooKeys. Unlike insects, snails don’t specialize on particular food sources. Instead, they separate into different species based on the chemical and physical properties of their habitats. Thanks to its tiny size, A. nana can probably fit into crevices other snails can’t reach, vacuuming up bacteria and fungi that grow on wet limestone. The species is a few tenths of a millimeter smaller than the previous minisnail record holder, a Chinese species called Angustopila dominikae that debuted a month ago in the same journal. ?