A gorgeous species of mollusc

Courtesy of the Facebook page Novataxa, which describes and shows species new to science, here’s a lovely terrestrial snail whose particulars follow. A bit of Googling, though, shows that it’s not new, but was described in 1864!

Name: Blaesospira echinus
Location: Sierra de la Penitencia; found only in Cuba
Photo by Adrián González-Guillén, a Cuban who lives in Ecuador

I don’t know anything else about it, but it’s one fine-looking snail, resembling a Christmas ornament:

 

And, from Simon’s Specimen Shells, here’s a mating pair. It’s amazing that they can get any copulation done with all those spines in the way:

h/t: Matthew Cobb

 

15 Comments

  1. lanceleuven
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    ‘It’s amazing that they can get any copulation done with all those spines in the way’

    Well there’s a will there’s a way!

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted September 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      I thought that was “when there is a willie there is a way”?

      • Achrachno
        Posted September 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        And if these are like many land snails, there are 2 willies, since they’d be hermaphrodites.

        • Dominic
          Posted September 12, 2012 at 2:41 am | Permalink

          I thought they were love darts? I think Steve Jones said that there was a connection between snails & the depiction of love because the snail was like cupid with his love darts… or something like that!

  2. Posted September 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    “resembling a Christmas ornament”

    Everything points to Christ… The design is obvious!

    Just Kidding! Ha.

  3. andreschuiteman
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s probably only a few millimeters tall. There are similar species in Borneo that are as small as that.

  4. Nathan
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Check the “peacock mantis shrimp” out in this lovely YouTube video starting at 1:10 (awesome channel too):

  5. Nathan
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Reposting link to see if it embeds (sorry for double post).

    • Filipe
      Posted September 12, 2012 at 1:32 am | Permalink

      Please don’t embed, the other post was fine.

      • Nathan
        Posted September 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Why not?

  6. Achrachno
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    On further reflection, I can’t imagine any way something like this could evolve via natural selection, nor any reason that such a creature should even exist at all. Therefore, QED, Jesus!

    • Mark Fuller Dillon
      Posted September 12, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      No no, Baal! Only Baal may build a life, and only Baal may take it.

      This glistening mollusc represents the grandeur of Baal.

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted September 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        You’re both wrong; it’s the Flying Spaghetti Monster, with a side of escargot…

  7. Posted September 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I study the evolution of snails very similar to this, only they are the diplommatinids (relatives of which live in Borneo, as one commenter mentioned above), not the annulariids pictured here. Pretty neat convergence. There is a great article on the Borneo ones with similar extreme coiling patterns: Clements, Liew, Vermeulen and Schilthuizen. 2008. Further twists in gastropod shell evolution. Biology Letters 4, 179-182. If you are interested in how these might mate (and coiling w.r.t. mating in general), check out: Asami, Cowie, Ohbayashi. 1998. Evolution of mirror images by sexually asymmetric mating behavior in hermaphroditic snails. American Naturlist 152, 225-236. Note that the annulariids and diplommatinids are operculate snails with separate sexes– not hermaphroditic like the majority of land snails/slugs. Thanks for posting snail news. . .

  8. Jo
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful creature! I don’t care who did or did not create it: I/m just happy to see it in the same world with me!


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