TOP TEN NEW SPECIES: Ghost Slug and More in Pictures

TOP TEN NEW SPECIES: Ghost Slug and More in Pictures
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Opisthostoma Vermiculum: Snail With A Twist

Looking like the byproduct of an overzealously squeezed tube of toothpaste, the shell (such as the two pictured) of the newly discovered snail Opisthostoma vermiculum whorls and coils like no gastropod armor ever seen before.

Its complex, minute spirals pose monumental biological puzzles. For one thing, how does this intricate coil--just a fraction of an inch long--give its inhabitant any evolutionary advantage over its environment?

For the vexing questions it poses, the tiny snail with a wormlike shell has wriggled its way into a 2009 list of the top 10 new species documented in 2008.

—Photograph courtesy Reuben Clements
 
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