Supposedly extinct snail is not dead yet

The Oblong Rocksnail hasn't been collected in more than 75 years, and in 2000 was declared extinct thanks to habitat loss. Surprisingly, the snail has been rediscovered, but is still under severe threat.

The Leptoxis compacta specimen was discovered by University of Alabama PhD student Nathan Whelan, who was kayaking down the Cahaba river in search of the snail. It once survived in a 50-mile stretch of water, but now seems restricted to just one half-mile of habitat.


Within that limited range, they actually seem to be doing pretty well. "We don't know how many individuals are left," Whelan said in a press release. "Locally, they seem somewhat abundant. Anecdotally, the sole remaining population seems to be doing fine."

There's a move to try and establish a second snail community within the snail's original range, so that the entire population won't be quite so vulnerable to single catastrophic event. After all, when your entire known population exists in just half a mile of water, a single natural or industrial disaster is enough to wipe out the lot of you.

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