Officers from Biosecurity Queensland have discovered a very rare species of snail and orchid during their routine weed hunting near Cairns in the Daintree Rainforest, Queensland. This is the first ever sighting of this rare native orchid and extremely reclusive tree snail. These two are known only to the Carbine Tablelands and biosecurity officers found them when conducting surveillance for the invasive Miconia weed.

According to Brisbane Times, Tim Hawkes, an avid naturalist and biosecurity officer is extremely happy with the find. He called the orchid discovery an achievement as it’s one of a kind in Australia. Speaking on the rare snail, he added that up till now only sketches of its shell were the proof of its existence. Luckily, the snail has been caught live for the first time ever and has been named the Mossman tree snail. He is happy to see both of them thrive in their natural environment. The Tonsil Orchid resembles tonsils when dissected; hence the name.

Hawkes took Bruce Gray, the guy who first discovered the Tonsil Orchid, to the orchid site as he still lives in Atherton. He confirmed the find. Hawkes also sent photographs of the snail to Queensland Museum for formal identification.

“The Queensland Museum's Honorary Research Fellow and snail expert Dr John Stanisic has positively identified the snail, and since then we have found another one,” Hawkes said.

Mick Jeffery, project coordinator for Biosecurity Queensland tropical weed eradication project pointed out the importance of eliminating the Miconia weed in native environments so that various species can thrive in their natural environments, reports ABC News.

“Miconia is a particularly invasive plant and once established in the rainforest has the potential to replace native plants and impact on wildlife,” Jeffery said.

Ironically, the biosecurity officers did not find the Miconia weed this time and stumbled upon these rare species of snail and orchid instead.

Biosecurity Queensland posted a photograph of the rare Mossman tree snail yesterday on their official Twitter account.

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