A gorgeous species of mollusc

September 11, 2012 • 12:52 pm

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 thoughts on “A gorgeous species of mollusc

        1. 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!

  1. 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!

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

      This glistening mollusc represents the grandeur of Baal.

  2. 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. . .

  3. 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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