A new and endemic species of Bhutanese snail documented

Bhutanese snail - an endemic and new snail species of Bhutan
Bhutanese snail – an endemic and new snail species of Bhutan

4 April 2016, Thimphu: A new and endemic species of a Bhutanese snail called Truncatellina bhutanensisspec. nov. has been recently documented by a team of Bhutanese researchers together with researchers from Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Netherland. This was announced during the talk on Mollusk diversity of Bhutan by Professor Edmund Gittenberger held at DoA conference hall yesterday, initiated by National Biodiversity Centre (NBC), Serbithang. The team collected 600 to 650 shells of 200 different species from as many as 35 places. The shells are maintained at NBC to serve as invertebrate references in the country.

The discovery was made during the snail specimen collections carried out in almost entire country as part of the NBC’s project on establishment of a knowledge base and understand the role of invertebrates in Bhutan funded by Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC) and co-funded by Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

The species better known as Bhutanese snails, a small one was observed at Haa on April 17, 2013 by the researchers. However, according to the scientific paper, the Bhutanese snail species is commonly found in the calcareous areas of western Bhutan, within the altitude range of 2100 to 2650 masl.A50X5531

Belonging to Vertiginidae family, researchers said that Bhutanese snail is different from other species in terms of having a genital tract without an externally visible prostate and a gut-furrow crossing the albumen gland instead of running parallel with it. The presence of a radula with a tricuspid central and bicuspid lateral teeth, and a mandible with many small plates separated by narrow ridges are also some of the unique characteristics of the new species.

Researchers observed its shell is fragile with light brown, appearing glossy, running almost cylindrical with a domed apical part. Further, the species is said to have a teleo-conch with a relatively coarse growthlines, one or a few of which may be thickened as riblets, near the aperture.

NBC’s researcher Rinchen Leda said that as of now only a single species is known as of now from Bhutan. But researchers didn’t rule out the possibility of discovering few more new species. “Taking into account that the Bhutan molluscan inventory just started, it would not be surprising to if additional taxa were discovered.”

In addition, researchers said that snails are an important environemtal parameters and may act as hosts for parasites that are important for human health, agriculture and livestock. They collected many interesting specimen of snail shells with colours, shapes, chimney-like, elongated channel, hairy shell, sinistral coiling,

Researchers said that endemism of snails in Bhutan is expected to be high.

Reported by: Ugyen Tshering, ICS

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