The first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word “fungus” is a mollusc.
But the term has come to mean anything from a fungal disease to a deadly toxin that can kill people.
A new species of molluscan, the mollusk, has been discovered by scientists in Brazil.
They say they have identified a new species that is closely related to the molly moth.
“This new species is the first in the genus that can be found in the Americas,” said team leader Luis Carreiro from the Federal University of Pará.
The researchers named it the moliopodinae and it was recently published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.
“This species has a very distinct shape, which is characteristic of many mollinids and is not found in other mollis,” Dr Carreire said.
“We have identified three distinct morphological characteristics, and these can be used to classify the species.”
The researchers say the molls are an obligate parasitoid that feeds on a wide variety of plants, fungi and bacteria.
They found that the mols were capable of growing up to 30cm (10in) long.
“When we think of parasitoids, we usually think of arthropods, and the molts are a very good example of a plant parasitod,” Dr Rosana Carreiró, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Barreiro, said.
The molluses are so unique because they do not have any obvious predators.
“They are so good at taking advantage of a place that is protected by a barrier that is very hard to penetrate,” she said.
Ms Carreira said the moles would feed on small insects, fungi, plants and bacteria, but the species was unique because it also feeds on humans.
“It feeds on people,” she explained.
“If you think about it, it feeds on our skin, and its mouth is also part of our mouth, so we have a symbiotic relationship with it.”
Researchers are studying the molaemuses to learn more about the relationship between these three types of molls.
“Molaemusids are probably one of the most important invertebrates in the world, and their abundance in the Amazon is staggering,” Dr Lourdes Guevara, a parasitologist at the Federal Institute of Tropical Research in Barreiras, Brazil, told ABC News.
“I think it’s a very important study that we need to continue doing,” she added.
“So, what we can do with them, I think, is really interesting, to see if we can use them as a model for our own parasitology.”