45 new snail species found in Western Australia

This video from Australia is called Hairy desert snail Semotrachia euzyga.

From Wildlife Extra:

45 new species of snails found on Western Australian Islands

New discoveries on Kimberley islands

September 2009. Western Australian scientists and traditional Kimberley land owners are rapidly discovering new species in the State’s north as part of the Kimberley islands biological survey. With field work almost complete, the survey has confirmed that the Kimberley is one of Australia’s diversity hotspots for ancient camaenid land snails.

Research scientist Dr Frank Köhler said that even though they are small and might seem insignificant, the snails are an important indicator of the general condition of the islands and the threats faced by other animals.

“Although science usually moves at a snail’s pace, because the islands are largely unexplored by modern science it means that we are finding previously unrecorded species very quickly and there is a surprisingly high number of them,” he said.

“Each island is different and tends to support a unique set of species due to its isolation by water and therefore the species form distinct groups which differ from the mainland.”

9 islands still to be surveyed

So far, 48 species of snails that are unique to the islands have been recorded as part of the survey and all but three of these have never been formally described. Nine islands are still to be surveyed in the wet season and scientists are predicting more discoveries.

“Just like kangaroos, these land snails are among the survivors of the major changes in climate that have taken place over the last few million years. These days, most people will not see them because they bury themselves deep in the soil or hide in crevices to escape the heat and conserve water, only emerging during the wet season”, he said

“One of the fascinating features is how you distinguish between different species through the size and shape of the male organs, so what might look like the same snail from the shell is actually another species that you’ll recognise only if you look inside.”

4 year survey

The survey of 22 of the largest islands in the Kimberley, designed to sample groups of mammals, reptiles, land snails, birds and plants at most risk of threats such as fire, weeds, human activity and cane toads, commenced in late 2006 and is due for completion in 2010.

The project is a collaboration between Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), the Western Australian Museum, the Australian Museum and the Kimberley Land Council

DEC is in the process of preparing a science and conservation strategy for the Kimberley as part of a $9 million State Government commitment.

Western Australian islands to be cleared of rodents: here.

How do we even begin to describe the 420,000 or more unnamed species in Australia? Taxonomy is only at the dawn of its discovery phase on this mega-diverse continent, but as a discipline it is undervalued and on its way out: here.

Queensland Museum scientist Dr. John Stanisic has named a rare species of tree snail discovered in north Queensland in honor of wildlife advocate and conservationist Steve Irwin. The snail, Crikey steveirwini, was found in the mountainous regions of north Queensland’s Wet Tropics near Cairns: here.

Snails may split into different species rapidly precisely because they move so slowly, scientists now suggest: here.

A team of Catalan researchers has studied the changes in the make-up of animal populations following forest fires, and have concluded that malacological fauna are a good indicator of forest recovery. The conclusions of this study will help to ensure that post-fire forestry operations that do not harm these species of molluscs, which are sensitive to microclimatic conditions of the soil and vegetation structure: here.

Cloud forest shell slug (Ibycus rachelae, Helicarionidae), Crocker Mountain Range, Borneo: photo here.

Tiny Mediterranean snail ‘hitchhiked’ to UK in Victorian times: here.

ScienceDaily (Oct. 19, 2010) — Two world experts in micro mollusks, Anselmo Peñas and Emilio Rolán, have made an unprecedented description in a scientific publication of a combined total of 209 snail species. Commissioned by the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, the study was unveiled in September in the French capital, and it covers the most new species from a single genus of any study to date: here.

Slugs’ last meals: molecular identification of sequestered chloroplasts from different algal origins in Sacoglossa: here.

How sea slugs ‘capture the sun’: here.

Surprising number of Sea slugs off Wales: here.

The brightly coloured moorish idol, the busy bumble bee of the reef: here.

9 thoughts on “45 new snail species found in Western Australia

  1. Threatened species airlifted from NW island

    ADRIAN WATSON, The West Australian February 17, 2010, 11:42 am

    Hundreds of threatened animals have been airlifted from Barrow Island as part of environmental conditions placed on Chevron in the $43 billion Gorgon project.

    Read the full story in tomorrow’s edition of The West Australian

    Environment Minister Donna Faragher said the project – funded by Chevron and managed by the Department of Environment and Conservation – was the biggest of its kind undertaken in Australia.

    She said up to 500 golden bandicoots, 170 boodies, 140 spectacled hare wallabies and 140 possums would be airlifted from Barrow Island.

    They would be relocated to the Montebello Islands, about 30km north of Barrow Island, the Cape Range National Park near Exmouth and Lorna Glen, a pastoral station near about 150km east of Wiluna in central WA.

    “This is a fantastic opportunity to translocate animals from Barrow Island where there are currently healthy populations of about 40-60,000 golden bandicoots, 5,000 boodies, up to 10,000 spectacled hare wallabies and 10,000 possums,” Mrs Faragher said.
    She said there were about 40,000 to 60,000 golden bandicoots, 5,000 boodies, up to 10,000 spectacled hare wallabies and 10,000 possums living on the island.


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