New kind of mollusk with an appetite for MEAT is found preserved in an Australian museum that belongs to a species so rare, scientists have yet to see one alive
- A new kind of carnivorous mollusk was found in a Australian museum collection
- It is named Amoria thorae, after Thora Whitehead whose collection it was found
- The mollusk has a stock build and cream colored shell with a wavy pattern
- It inhabited parts of Cape Moreton, Queensland and Tweed Heads
A museum creator at the Queensland Museum in Australia discovered a previously unknown mollusk with an appetite for meat.
Called Amoria thorae, the creature is part of the carnivorous Volutidae family of marine snails and is a new species of Amoria, which is a type of mollusk with a wavy shell.
The Amoria species, is so rare, scientists have yet to find a live specimen and have only been left with empty shells, according to the study published in Nature.
Amoria thorae’s shell is much smaller than other carnivorous volute mollusks and is a cream color with darker lines that form a wave like pattern that runs top to bottom.
The museum says the mollusk inhabited parts of Cape Moreton, Queensland and Tweed Heads, New South Wales.
A museum creator at the Queensland Museum in Australia discovered a previously unknown mollusk with an appetite for meat
Queensland Museum Curator Marine Environments (Mollusks) Dr John Healy said he long knew of a possible new species of carnivorous marine snail from the mid-eastern coast of Australia.
‘I’d seen a shell of this marine snail illustrated in a book, but not officially described, so you can imagine my delight when photographing this new collection, I found not one, but two specimens of this potentially new species,’ Healy said in a statement.
The Amoria thorae specimen is that of a small adult, which is nearly intact, except for fading on the shell.
Compared to other Amoria mollusks, the new species is ‘stocky with a wide, distinctly angulate shoulder,’ Healy shared in the study.
Called Amoria thorae, the creature is part of the carnivorous Volutidae family of marine snails and is a new species of Amoria, which is a type of mollusk with a wavy shell means it has a wavy shell
Healy hopes ‘further collecting will determine the depth at which living A. thorae may be found.’
All the members of the Volutidae family and their prey includes other mollusks and their prey include mollusks and echinoderms, which includes starfish and sea urchins.
While Amoria is a genus of medium-sized marine gastropods (snails and slugs) in the family Volutidae.
These predatory creatures are found in onshore and offshore waters around the entire coast of Australia; several species extend into offshore waters of southern Indonesia.
Amoria thorae was part of Brisbane resident Thora Whitehead’s massive collection that was donated to the museum and was named in her honor.
It contains thousands of species, including numerous rarities and foreign species many collected by Thora herself.
Amoria is a genus of medium-sized marine gastropods (snails and slugs) in the family Volutidae. These predatory creatures are found in onshore and offshore waters around the entire coast of Australia
‘Much of the material was collected by Thora over 50 years from localities around the Australian and especially Queensland coastlines, from habitats as diverse as mangroves, surf beaches, shell beds, rock platforms and coral reefs’ Dr. Healy said.
‘Thora’s collection will continue to provide the basis for public education and future research projects for decades to come and that should always be the yardstick by which any collection of scientific merit (such as this one) is measured.’
Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr. Jim Thompson said with more than 200,000 specimens, the collection was significant.
‘We are grateful to Thora Whitehead and her family for this significant donation to the State Collection,’ Thompson said.
‘Thora has been recognized by the scientific community for her contribution to malacology (the study of mollusks) and has co-authored a number of publications on the subject and has close to a dozen species of mollusks named in her honor, including the most recent species from her collection.’