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New land snail species discovered in northern Australia

By: Dr Frank Köhler, Dr Francesco Criscione, Category: Science, Date: 03 Jan 2014

Ten new species and one genus of land snail have been discovered in coastal areas and on the islands of the Western Australian Kimberley.

Kymatobaudinia carrboydensis

Francesco Criscione © Australian Museum

The ancient spectacular landscapes of the Kimberley region of Western Australia are unique not only for their rugged beauty, but also for the incredible biodiversity they support.

Due to their remoteness and inaccessibility, however, vast areas of the Kimberley have remained a frontier of exploration. Here researchers have still the chance to discover new species.

We have been studying native land snails in the Kimberley for about five years and have so far discovered more than 150 new species. In our latest publication, we describe a further ten new species and one new genus of land snail from coastal areas throughout the Kimberley.

In order to correctly recognize species and to unravel their relationships, analysing DNA sequences has been instrumental.

Studies like ours will help better to understand how and why the Kimberley became a biodiversity hotspot in the first place and what is required to preserve the flora and fauna of this iconic Australian region for the future.

Dr Frank Köhler
Research Scientist

Dr Francesco Criscione
Post-Doctoral Researcher

More information:
Criscione, F. & Köhler, F. (2013) More on snails and islands: molecular systematics and taxonomic revision of Setobaudinia Iredale (Gastropoda: Camaenidae) from the Kimberley, Western Australia, with description of new taxa. Invertebrate Systematics 27, 634-654.

Tags biodiversity discovery, new species, malacology, Australian Museum Research Institute,