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Mysterious Hair

Setobaudinia-umbadayiYou’ve heard of animals changing shape, colour or texture for camouflage but you probably haven’t heard of them growing new hair to keep safe. Among 150 other new snail species discovered in Australia, scientists have found one with hairs that may have evolved to help it hide from prey. The quirky mollusc, christened Setobaudinia umbadayi, was found during a survey of remote islands off the Kimberley coast by scientists from the Australian Museum Research Institute. The purpose of these hairs is still unknown, but Dr Frank Koehler, who led the expedition, explains they could help with camouflage. ‘Small particles of soil stick to the shell, making it difficult to distinguish from its habitat – especially in leaf-litter-dwelling species.’ The Kimberley Islands are home to around 300 species of snail, and Dr Koehler predicts there is a similar number of undiscovered species in the region.

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