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Extinction Countdown

Should We Stop Selling Nautilus Shells?


Nautilus shells are big business. The U.S. imports more than 100,000 of the iconic mollusk shells every year, according to a recent study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The shells end up online or in stores around the country, where they sell for anywhere from $15 to a few hundred dollars. But [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Microjewels: Stunningly Beautiful Snails Going Extinct as Soon as They Are Discovered


You need to have pretty good eyesight to see the tiny snails from the genus Plectostoma. These almost impossibly small gastropods from Malaysia and Thailand only reach a millimeter or two in width, but they make up for their lack of size with their stunning beauty. The 31 Plectostoma species described in a new paper [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Critically Endangered Purring Monkey and 1,900 Other Species Added to IUCN Red List

It took more than 30 years for science to formally identify the Caquetá titi monkey (Callicebus caquetensis) of Colombia as a new species. Now it probably won’t last another 30 years unless it is protected, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which on Tuesday added the monkey and more than 1,900 [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Ireland’s failed snails: 2 species already extinct, dozens of other mollusks endangered

Helicigona lapicida

Poor water quality and habitat loss are driving Ireland’s terrestrial and freshwater snails, along with related species into extinction, according to new research by the National Biodiversity Data Center (NBDC), a three-year-old organization established to study that country’s biodiversity. The study (pdf) of nonmarine Irish mollusks found that of 150 species, one third are threatened [...]

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Oyster Genome Pries Open Mollusk Evolutionary Shell

oyster genome sequence

The world of the mollusk genome is now our oyster, as researchers have now sequenced the genetic code of this hearty (and delicious) shellfish, revealing it to be even more complex and adaptable than previously imagined. The new genome provides insights how oysters manage to cope with a dynamic habitat and how they build their [...]

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