Taiwanese scientists have discovered a new hermaphroditic land snail species and have dubbed the gastropod Aegista diversifamilia, "the diverse forms of human families," in honor of the "struggle for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights."
The unlikely mascot was introduced in the publication journal ZooKeys courtesy of the Department of Life Science at National Taiwan Normal University. The co-authors, Dr. Yen-Chang Lee and Chih-Wei Huang, discovered the new species in eastern Taiwan. Believing they were looking at a known species, the scientists ran tests only to find out this was a previously unknown species.
During their tests, the scientists discovered the snail had a larger, flatter shell than the known species and had both male and female reproductive organs. Because of this revelation, the species' name was born. Dr. Lee explained:
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. 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.