The addition of a new snail to the list of newly discovered species may not seem like a big deal to many people but its scientific name is one to make the LGBTQ community smile: Aegista diversifamilia.
According to an article in the journal ZooKeys, the new species of snail was discovered in Taiwan but had been thought to be a subspecies of a different snail for many years. After different scientists compared notes and looked harder, it was determined to be its own unique species of snail.
Now about that name, A. diversifamilia, and the reasons for it: Dr. Lee, the man that suggested the snail was a unique species unto itself, recalled that while they were getting the manuscript ready for publication, Taiwan and many other countries were trying to get same sex marriages recognized.
It had been everywhere in the news and was on his mind as the paper was sent off. He says that it made him think about the fact that these snails are hermaphroditic creatures and therefore contain both male and female reproductive organs. It was one way to see the diversity of sexual orientation in the animal world. He is quoted as saying that, “maybe this is a good occasion to name the snail to remember the struggle for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights.”
The issue of gender and LGBTQ equality is something that everyone is exposed to. It is in the news and on many people’s minds as we move toward a more unbiased world. The naming of the newly discovered snail may be a small step but it is still a step forward in the right direction.