Something special in the mail: scaly footed iron armoured snails (Crysomallon squamiferum)

A very special snail mail arrived recently!

ZRC MOL 5793 Chrysomellon squamiferum lkcnhm newsOur mollusc curator, Tan Siong Kiat, alerted us of a pair of scaly footed iron armoured snails (Crysomallon squamiferum) sent to us from the RRS James Cook Expedition of the Indian Ocean collected by JT Copley. They were found some 2,700 m deep!

These snail have a shell coated with iron sulfide and also have iron sulfide coated petals protecting their soft foot. Only a peek beneath the foot reveals their organic nature.

Scientist studying them found that they probably do not need to eat. Instead, they probably rely on symbiotic bacteria found in their guts for food production. Amazing!

The snails have been catalogued and are now part of the Zoological Reference Collection for research and education.