Phuket father and son discover new snail

PHUKET: A species of tiny snail, previously unknown to science, has been discovered by a Phuket father and son who hunted for a live example for nearly two years after finding a fossil. Somnuek Pattamakanthin, 52, who set up the Phuket Seashell Museum in Rawai, and his son Somwang, 22, found a fossil of the snail in 1997 in the mountains straddling Khao Phanom District in Surat Thani Province and Ao Luk District in Krabi Province. But it was not until the following year, when they launched a survey of the area, that they found the live snails, high on a limestone cliff. The snails are very small, little bigger than peanut, and are shaped a little like a river snail. They come in three colors – white, yellow and reddish-orange. Khun Somwang sent some of the snails to the Biology Department at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, where it was identified as a member of the Cyclophoridae family, of the genus Alycaeus. In acknowledgement of its discoverers, the head of the department, Dr Somsak Panha, recorded its scientific name as Alycaeus Somnueki Panha & Pattamakanthin, 1999. Dr Somsak said he believed the snail had been unknown until now because its habitat, on high cliffs in deep forest, was relatively inaccessible to Man. Khun Somwang told the Gazette that he is in the process of having the snail registered with institutes such as the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan Museum and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Phuket News
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