Microjewels On The Verge Of Dying Out Shortly After Their Discovery

These puny snails from Thailand and Malaysia are so slim and small that it is really hard to spot them. They are merely a millimeter wide, to be exact. A fresh paper published in ZooKeys suggests that 31 Plectostoma species bear spiral shells which can be twisted into various shapes. That’s not all; the shells actually glow under direct sunlight. Clearly, the amazing beauty compensates for the tiny size. Thor-Seng Liew is a Dutch Ph.D. student that refers to them as microjewels for their coiled shape and reshaping characteristics.

Microjewels

Thor-Seng Liew

It’s a real pity that these microjewels are so meagre in amounts that they are already feared to be endangered soon. Liew was able to note the reasons why this is the case. He believes that the only habitat these tiny creatures have are limestone hills which are favourite sources for raw material extraction. South East Asia is marked by only a few of these hills which make loss of habitat of these poor fellows inevitable.

Tiny snails

Thor-Seng Liew

The P.sciaphilum species are one kind from the early 1950s that had its only habitat quarried elsewhere in early 2000s but has now gone extinct. Given the current scenario, the P.tenggekenisis species is now exposed to the threat of dying out as well. Sadly, it may cease to exist by the end of this year. The published paper recognizes 6 out of 31 species which are on the verge of extinction. Want to learn more about the stunning Plectostoma species? Wait for the second paper that features the species based in Sumatra.

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