A blind snail named after Bojnice Castle

The snail was first discovered by zoologist Ján Brtek.

Bojnice Castle. Bojnice Castle. (Source: SME)

Bojnice Castle is a well-known venue radiating romance and magic, but only a few people know that a miniature blind freshwater snail was found here.

Discovered by zoologist Ján Brtek and malacologist Vojen Ložek in the sixties, the snail that had never been seen before was given the name Belgrandiella bojniciensis, the TASR newswire wrote.

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Today, the snail whose shell is 1.8 millimetres high and 0.6 millimetres wide can be found in the collections of the Upper Nitra Museum in Prievidza.

A vast collection of snails

Brtek managed to collect a vast number of snails during his life. Archivist Erik Kližan from Bojnice Castle, which serves as a museum under the Slovak National Museum, even considers the zoologist’s collection to be of European importance.

Read also: Bojnice Castle exhibit featured in a US film starring George Clooney Read more 

“He corresponded with many experts, scientists from prestigious universities, organisations, and even the Japanese emperor, who was an amateur researcher in this field,” the archivist told TASR.

Because Bojnice Castle stands on a travertine rock, which was formed by carbonated thermal water, Brtek decided to explore the forms of life in it.

Found in groundwater

In addition to well-known species, which experts recorded in the form of fossils or even still living animals, they discovered a small snail that did not live anywhere else in the world. They named it after Bojnice, the place of its discovery.

“They discovered it in groundwater,” Kližan said. Whether it was in a cave or a castle moat, where groundwater springs up, it's not important, he added.

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Read also: Bratislava zoo mourns the loss of its oldest giraffe Read more 

These sites are believed to be interconnected.

Three new species

Dozens of snail shells related to the tiny, blind “bojniciensis” species - rarely living individuals - were found in the castle moat in the past, according to Katarína Keratová from the Upper Nitra Museum.

In the Upper Nitra region, where the castle is situated, Brtek and Ložek went on to discover two more similar species in streams: Belgrandiella slovenica slovenica and Belgrandiella slovenica alticola.

However, the “bojniciensis” species with its white shell is slightly larger.

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