An unexpected find in the heart of the Gibson Desert

Tiny snail Kiwirrkurra

The tiny snail found at Kiwirrkurra

When most of us think of snails we think of slimy garden pests devouring our lettuces, but Australia is home to over a thousand native snail species, many smaller than a grain of rice.

And now Bush Blitz scientists investigating a fresh water oasis in the very heart of the Gibson Desert have found a tiny snail that could be new to science.

With the help of the Kiwirrkurra Aboriginal community, a team of 20 scientists have spent the last two weeks looking for new species in Australia’s most remote Indigenous Protected Area, Kiwirrkurra. The area we’ve been surveying is 42,000 square kilometres – finding a tiny snail there is like finding a needle in a haystack the size of Belgium! Kiwirrkurra rangers’ local knowledge has been invaluable in helping find the snails.

Corey Whisson in Kiwirrkurra

Corey Whisson exploring Kiwirrkurra Indigenous Protected Area

While the common garden snail is an introduced species, native snails are usually far smaller and more beautiful. Plus, they eat mostly leaf litter and algae, meaning your veggies are safe from them.

Corey Whisson, Western Australian Museum

Bush Blitz is a partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia. The innovative program sends scientists out into the field to record the fascinating plants and animals in conservation areas across Australia.

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