Ocean snail is first animal to be officially endangered by deep-sea mining

Date: July 22, 2019

Source: Nature
Author: Johnathan Lambert

Valuable metals and minerals pepper the creature’s habitat, drawing commercial interest to the sea floor.

The scaly-foot snail (Chrysomallon squamiferum) coats its shell and tiny plates on its foot with iron that it takes out of the surrounding seawater.Credit: David Shale/Nature Picture Library

A snail that lives near hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor east of Madagascar has become the first deep-sea animal to be declared endangered because of the threat of mining.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added the scaly-foot snail (Chrysomallon squamiferum) to its Red List of endangered species on 18 July — amid a rush of companies applying for exploratory mining licenses.

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