Translucent snail discovered in Croatia’s deepest cave

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

snail shells
The curiously transparent shell of this cave-dwelling snail.

The Lukina Jama-Trojama underground cave system is one of the the largest in the world. The deepest point is about 4,000 feet below the surface of the Earth! Since the cave isn’t constantly bathed in sunlight, many animals native to the caves are born blind. The newest creature that’s been discovered is no exception!

Say hello to the Zospeum tholussum snail. Just like other members in the Zospeum family, it prefers to live in muddy habitats relatively close to water. This particular one was found about half a mile deep underground in the Lukina Jama-Trojama caves near a peaceful sandy steam. According to the scientists that discovered the tiny slimeball, it’s a true “eutroglobiont” – a cave-dweller. The blind creature has a beautiful spiral-shaped shell that looks just like a cone of ice cream… if the tasty treat was clear! You see, the Zospeum tholussum’s shell is transparent! Maybe he could use a bit of sunlight for a nice tan, eh?

Featured image courtesy of Jana Bedek, HBSD on Eurekalert. Image of shells courtesy of Alexander M. Weigand on Eurekalert.