Scientists in Taiwan have named a new species of land snail in honor of the fight for same-sex marriage rights, according to a report in the journal Zookeys.
The snail species , thought to be part of a species discovered in 1884, turns out to be genetically independent, Chih-Wei Huang and his collaborators at Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University discovered:
"When we examined the phylogeny from each gene," Huang says, "it suggested that the eastern A. subchinensis was more closely related to A. vermis, a similar land snail species inhabited in Ishigaki Island, than the western A. subchinensis."
They confirmed that what was thought to be A. subchinensis from eastern Taiwan was in fact a new species, which they named as A. diversifamilia. The name means the diverse forms of human families.
"When we were preparing the manuscript," Dr. Lee explains, "it was a period when Taiwan and many other countries and states were struggling for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights. It reminded us that Pulmonata land snails are hermaphrodite animals, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs in single individual. They represent the diversity of sex orientation in the animal kingdom. We decided that maybe this is a good occasion to name the snail to remember the struggle for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights."