Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Rarely-seen sea snail 'inadvertently caught on camera'

Grooved top shell snail on eelgrass Image copyright Tony Glen, Isle of Man Seasearch
Image caption The snail was snapped by scientists studying samples of submerged eelgrass

A sea snail not seen in Manx waters for almost two centuries has been "inadvertently caught on camera" by divers studying marine plants.

The grooved top shell snail was spotted by scientists looking at eelgrass in the Langness Marine Nature Reserve at Fort Island Gully in December.

The miniature mollusc, which is about 0.3ins (10mm) tall, was last found by marine biologist Edward Forbes in 1838.

Diver Tony Glen, who snapped the snail, said it was "very exciting" to find it.

Image copyright Isle of Man Government
Image caption The snail is so small, three of them can fit on a 5p piece

The Isle of Man Government said it was believed to be the most northerly sighting of the species, as it is typically found in the Mediterranean, with most historical records only referring to empty shells outside of that sea.

It was spotted in Mr Glen's photos by marine environment officer Peter Duncan, who asked the divers to go back to collect samples for confirmation, a spokesman said.

He added that its discovery, coupled with the 1838 reference to it, meant the species may have "been here before, if not continuously, but could have been overlooked".

The species will now be added to the National Biodiversity Network Atlas Isle of Man, an online database containing of all the organisms recorded from the island.

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