New species discovered: Small cave snail with many fork teeth

First described: Iberozospeum costulatum
Bild: Carlos Prieto

Some caves are home to strange creatures. One of them, which was previously unknown, was discovered by a Frankfurt researcher in northern Spain.

ITheir teeth look like tiny forks, and the little snail has a great many of them: it sifts through the mud in its habitat for food. Their unusual mouthparts are the most striking feature of Iberozospeum costulatum – this is what Adrienne Jochum called the new species of snail that she discovered in a northern Spanish cave.

Senckenberg researcher Jochum, together with colleagues from Spain and Switzerland, described not only this species, but an entire genus for the first time. Their representatives are related to snails that occur in the Eastern Alps and in the Dinaric Mountains.

With its only 1.2 to 1.5 millimeters large, transparent shell, the northern Spanish cave snail is an inconspicuous creature. In addition to its fork teeth, it is characterized by a protein gland, which is huge for its body size and which is used to produce eggs. Biologist Jochum is hoping for more interesting finds in the Iberian underworld: “The exploration of the northern Spanish caves is far from over.”

Link to the study

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.