07:14 GMT14 May 2021
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    The never-before-classified species of tiny brown snails was discovered recently by scientists on the island of Borneo near Malaysia by a company that teams up citizen scientists with researchers for discovery expeditions.

    Teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg’s name has been given to a newly-discovered snail species.

    Details about the new snail, published on 20 February in the Biodiversity Data Journal, suggest that Craspedotropis gretathunbergae is highly sensitive to changes in both weather and temperature.

    “Naming this snail after Greta Thunberg is our way of acknowledging that her generation will be responsible for fixing problems that they did not create. And it’s a promise that people from all generations will join her to help,” citizen scientist J.P. Lim explained in a press release.

    ​Taxon Expeditions, a Netherlands-based company that brings together citizen scientists and researchers for discovery expeditions, had organised the field trip to Brunei’s Ulu Temburong National Park, where the 2 mm-long molluscs with grey tentacles, a concave shell, and a "buccal mass visible as a pink-orange globule" were discovered.

    The snails were discovered at the bottom of a steep hill-slope, alongside a river bank.

    “The newly described snail belongs to the so-called caenogastropods, a group of land snails known to be sensitive to drought, temperature extremes and forest degradation,” said snail expert and co-founder of Taxon Expeditions, Dr. Menno Schilthuizen in the press release.

    After the discovery, the expedition team along with staff from the National Park had taken a vote and ultimately decided to name the mollusk Craspedotropis gretathunbergae — after teen climate activist Greta Thunberg.

    The authors of the paper, "Craspedotropis gretathunbergae, a new species of Cyclophoridae (Gastropoda: Caenogastropoda)", wrote:

    "We name this species in honour of the young climate activist Greta Thunberg, because caenogastropod microsnails from tropical rain forests, like this new species, are very sensitive to the droughts and temperature extremes that are likely to be more frequent as climate change continues."

    According to the press release, Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who inspired a global movement to fight climate change and was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2019, was “delighted” to have this species named after her.

    In 2018 the teenager had started an environmental strike by skipping lessons most Fridays to protest outside the Swedish parliament building, eventually sparking a worldwide movement under the hashtag #FridaysForFuture.

    At the UN Climate Conference in New York in September 2019, Thunberg had blasted politicians for failing to dully tackle climate change in her now-famous speech, where she said:

    "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. We'll be watching you."

    Previously, in 2018, Taxon Expeditions had named a new beetle discovered by citizen scientists at a waterfall in a remote part of Malaysia - Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi - after another celebrity, actor and environmentalist: Leonardo DiCaprio.


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