New Snail Species Name represents Struggle for Same Sex Rights


A newly discovered snail species has been named in honor of marriage equality. The snail’s name, Aegista Diversifamilia, represents the struggle for same sex rights across the world. The new land snail species has both male and female sex organs.

“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”, explained study co-author Yen-Chang Lee from the Academia Sinica in Taiwan.

Pulmonata land snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs in single individual. According to Lee, the snail species shows the diversity of sex orientation in the animal kingdom. Lee said the researchers unanimously decided to give a name to the snail that reminds the struggle for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights.

Researchers long-believed that A. diversifamilia was A. subchinensis from eastern Taiwan. But, they have now split both the snail species from each other. The shell size of the new species is larger than that of A. subchinensis, which was first described in 1884.

Researchers only figured out in 2003 that the snail was different from ordinary species of snail. Researchers from the National Taiwan Normal University conducted a detailed study on the new snail and deduced that there was morphological divergence between the western and eastern populations of A. subchinensis.

After analysis of the phylogeny from each gene, it was made clear that the eastern A. subchinensis was linked more closely to a similar land snail species, called A. vermis, inhabited in Ishigaki Island, than the western A. subchinensis

The researchers reached at the conclusion that the new species was wrongly believed to be A. subchinensis from eastern Taiwan. The new snail’s name, A. diversifamilia, means the diverse forms of human families.

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