Thursday, September 12, 2013

See-through snail

Four years ago, I blogged about hermit crabs which had taken up residence in handblown glass shells so that New Zealand researchers could better study them. Yesterday in the weird news, I read that scientists have discovered a new species of snail that grows its own clear shell! It was living 3,215' (980 m) below ground, in a chamber full of rocks and sand and fed by a small stream within the Lukina Jama–Trojama cave system in Croatia – one of the deepest in the world. Researcher Alexander M. Weigand of the Institute for Ecology at Germany's Goethe-University Frankfurt and the Croatian Biospeleological Society describes the new snail in the open access journal Subterranean Biology. Zospeum tholussum is miniature, fragile, and air-breathing, with a beautifully shaped, dome-like, translucent shell. Unfortunately, it has "lost visual orientation," so it is unable to see (or see out of) its own good looks.


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