The gay marriage snail: Aegista diversifamilia
Scientists have named a newly identified snail species in honour of the ongoing struggle for marriage equality.
The snail was in the past thought to be part of the A. subchinensis species but following genetic tests was found to be a separate species in its own right.
Researchers at the Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University and the Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, decided to name it Aegista diversifamilia.
“Diversifamilia” is Latin for diverse forms of human families.
Dr. Yen-Chang Lee was one of scientists who authored the paper about the “gay marriage snail,” published in the journal ZooKeys.
“When we were preparing the manuscript, it was a period when Taiwan and many other countries and states were struggling for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights,” he told Pensoft.
“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,” he said.
There have been a number of attempts to legalise same-sex marriage in Taiwan, but the island state still does not yet have any legal recognition for same-sex couples.