FunNature & AnimalGreta Thunberg names a new species of snail

Greta Thunberg names a new species of snail

Its scientific name is Craspedotropis gretathunbergae, and it has been found in the tropics of Southeast Asia. It is a new species of snail recently discovered by the participants of Taxon Expeditions , a company that organizes scientific excursions for teams made up of scientists and other citizens.

The snail, named after the young Swedish activist, belongs to the so-called caenogastropods, a group of land snails that are sensitive to drought, extreme temperatures and forest degradation. However, this Craspedotropis gretathunbergae is even more sensitive to habitat alteration than other similar species, such as Stylommatophora ; the latter’s individuals are the first to disappear after forest degradation, presumably as a result of lower tolerance ranges for temperature and humidity.

The description of the new snail has been published in the Biodiversity Data Journal, and is the result of a citizen science effort, the joint work of scientists and other citizens, in a field laboratory. Its specific name was decided during a voting session, in which participants could suggest and vote on scientific names.

The name was chosen in honor of the young climate activist Greta Thunberg, because the microspheres of the caenogastropods of tropical forests, like this new species, are very sensitive to droughts and extreme temperatures, which are likely to become more frequent as the weather continues. climate change.

“Through mutual contacts, we have reached out to Thunberg and concluded that she would be delighted if this species was named after her,” the authors state. “Naming this snail in honor of Greta Thunberg is our way of recognizing that her generation will be responsible for solving the problems they did not create. And it is a promise that people of all generations will join her to help her,” they add.

What is Craspedotropis gretathunbergae like ?

Their carapace is less than 3 millimeters long and 2 millimeters wide. It has a spiral with about five turns, with an opening at its base of less than one millimeter. All individuals were found alive at the foot of a steep hill, next to a river bank, feeding at night on the upper surfaces of the green leaves of understory plants, one millimeter above ground level.

All the work described in the document (field work, morphological study, photomicrograph, taxonomic description and diagnosis) was carried out in a field center with basic equipment and without internet access , by ‘citizen scientists’ guided by expert scientists, for 10 days.

While the authors acknowledge that this way of working has its limitations in terms of production quality (for example, dissections or exhaustive searches of the scientific literature were not possible), the benefits of this working method include rapid discovery species and on- site processing of materials.

A beetle named after Leonardo DiCaprio

This isn’t the first time the Taxon Expeditions team has named a species in honor of an environmental advocate. In 2018, he named a new species of beetle, the Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi , after the famous actor, and also climate activist, Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio temporarily changed his Facebook profile picture to the photo of “his beetle” to recognize this honor.

Bibliographic reference:

Menno Schilthuizen et al, Craspedotropis gretathunbergae, a new species of Cyclophoridae (Gastropoda: Caenogastropoda), discovered and described on a field course to Kuala Belalong rainforest , Brunei, Biodiversity Data Journal (2020). DOI: 10.3897 / BDJ.8.e47484.

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