A stock image of a snail
Getty Images

Newly Discovered Snail Species Named in Honor of Marriage Equality

Oct 13, 2014

A newly discovered species of snail has been named in honor of marriage equality.

The snail, Aegista diversifamilia, which has both male and female sex organs, "represents the diversity of sex orientation in the animal kingdom," the BBC reports. The snail is common in eastern Taiwan, where same-sex marriage is illegal, according to research 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," said Dr. Yen-Chang Lee, the first person to suggest the snail might be its own species and not another, similar species of snail previously mistaken for it."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."

Lee, from Taipei's Academia Sinica, first noticed that snails of the Aegista subchinensis species were very different in the eastern part of the country in 2003 before taking part in a detailed study of the "new" snail with researchers from National Taiwan Normal University.

[BBC]

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.