Slow Snails Are Quick to Make New Species

Scientists’ new findings indicate that snails, because of their slow-paced movement could quite possibly split into separate species quickly. This new finding is an explanation for why certain species have more organism types than others do.

Yael Kisel and Tim Barraclough from London’s Imperial College say that snails and other species, which occupy small spaces, are more likely to develop new species as opposed to other animals that move around a lot more. In order to test their theory, the two researchers carried out a survey on the rate of species formation otherwise called speciation, in animals and plants in 64 islands spread out across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Their findings included that snails, which turned out to be one of the most inactive groups was found to speciate in extremely small areas, thus forming new species. One such area is Nihoa, which is around 200 acres in size. According to Kisel, this finding and other related ones provide clues to solve the age-old puzzle of why groups of organisms differentiate so much in the number of species involved. A good example is the beetle species, which outnumber mammal species by at least 60 times.

She also said that based on the model she would expect that species like beetles would possibly occupy large areas, as their adaptation to varied habitats was good along with their ability to colonize new areas. This is owed to the fact that they are small and of course territorial. Another reason for the occupancy of limited areas could be the availability of resources with the ability of easy exploitation.