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    This Clear Snail Was Found Deep Under the Earth

    Written by

    Lex Berko


    Image courtesy Alexander M. Weigand

    I will never go into a cave because I’ve watched The Descent too many times, but my own reluctance aside, there is plenty of amazing shit in the gnarly Byzantine tunnels underneath the Earth’s surface. Just check out this cool little dude for proof.

    Image courtesy Alexander M. Weigand

    On the top row is a living specimen of the new species, Zospeum tholussum. Despite only being announced recently, researchers actually discovered this strange air-breathing, cave-dwelling snail three summers ago on an expedition to collect shells from one of the deepest cave systems in the world, Lukina Jama-Trojama in Croatia. This particular individual was found at a depth of 980 meters and must’ve been hard to see; it is incredibly tiny and has a translucent shell.

    Zospeum tholussum stays true to snail traditions and doesn't really move all that much. According to the scientists, if it moves at all, it is through passive mechanisms, like catching a ride on running water.

    Though only one member of this species has as yet been found alive, the Zospeum tholussum is not alone in its translucence in the animal kingdom.

    Image via Wikimedia Commons

    This is the Bathocyroe fosteri. It is a species of comb jelly that easily thrives in every ocean on Earth. Like the snail, it is also fairly small, only two inches, but the awesomeness of its appearance far outweighs its miniature stature.

    Image via Wikimedia Commons

    Meet the glass frog. Not all glass frogs are translucent, but when they are, you can see most of their insides through their skin. As cute as they may seem, these frogs do have a darker side: they participate in infanticide by eating their own young.