A snail from a remote forest in Tasmania has been named after world-renowned conservationist and television personality David Attenborough, Australian Museum announced on Wednesday.
"Attenborougharion rubicundus is found in a small area of just 80 square kilometres of wet forest in Tasmania," said German biologist Frank Koehler, one of the scientists who found the species.
The brightly colourful red-and-green mollusc, which is between 35-45 millimeters long, had been known about for almost 40 years, but the genus had been classified wrongly, Koehler said.
Earlier, it was included in the genus Helicarion, but the different mitochondrial gene sequences and genital anatomy meant it could be classified into a new genus, the Attenborougharion rubicundus.
There could be many species in a genus, for now Attenborougharion is the single species in that genus.
The snail, which is endemic to Australia, is sensitive to habitat destruction and vulnerable to climate change because it can be found only in closed, wet forests, Koehler told dpa.
The species has been listed as "vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the scientists were hopeful that naming it after a world-renowned naturalist would gain it some attention.
Australia has a staggeringly diverse number of land snails, with more than 1,600 species already known to science and around 1,000 more as yet unknown.
Scientists say over 95 percent of the species are native to Australia and they are facing the impact of the climate change, land clearing and urban development.
Attenborough, who is on a speaking tour in Australia, said "it's a beautiful slug," but admitted he was not sure how to pronounce its name.
"I'm not too sure about my own name, let alone [that of] this splendid slug," he said during his visit to the museum in Sydney on Wednesday.
"There is no greater compliment that a museum, or indeed a natural scientist, can pay to another one than by naming a family name after that individual," he told the crowd of scientists and visitors.
"There is no one else - you have no peer," Australian Museum Trust President Catherine Livingstone said when presenting the honor.
"Australia and the international community have benefited from your curiosity, knowledge, and unending commitment to the natural world to bring us the stories, and make us aware of the challenges we face, in a way that no one else has been able to do," she said at the event.
The snail is the latest in a long line of animals and plants to be named after Attenborough.
He was also made a lifetime patron of the Australian Museum in recognition of his work in the fields of natural science and conservation.
Australian Museum is the country's first museum, established 190 years ago. It has collected more than 18 million scientific specimens and cultural artefacts, while more than 34 million people have visited the historic site in Sydney that opened in 1857.
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