Robert Irwin says it’s a “huge honor” after newly-discovered snail named after him

New species are still being discovered all the time, and scientists like to get a little creative with their naming. Many new discoveries are named in honor of celebrities, helping to generate publicity and honoring the celeb’s wildlife support.

Recently, a newly discovered snail was named after Robert Irwin, who said he was “thrilled” by the honor and explained why it was so meaningful to him.

Snail scientists recently discovered five new species of snail in south Queensland, Australia. One of the snails has been given the scientific name Figuladra robertirwini — or Robert Irwin’s Banded Snail.

The species has been named in honor of Robert Irwin, the 20-year-old son of the late Crocodile Hunter icon Steve Irwin. Robert has followed in his father’s footsteps as both a conservationist and television personality, working at his family’s Australia Zoo and advocating for wildlife of all kinds.

In a video posted to social media, Robert called it a “huge honor.”

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“This is particularly meaningful to me because so much of my environmental work is based around habitat preservation and even though this is a new species, we already know habitat destruction is one of the leading threats to this species.”

“I’m really passionate in not only protecting the big iconic species – koalas, crocodiles, kangaroos – but also the smaller animals,” he said. “I love snails and they’re definitely in need of our protection; these little legends are so cool and a very important part of the ecosystem.”

It’s also a special honor because the other famous members of Robert’s family all have snails named after them.

Steve Irwin has a snail named in his memory that pays homage to his famous catchphrase: the Crikey steveirwini.

“I’m very proud to be following in his footsteps,” Robert said in a video.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Robert’s sister Bindi and their mother Terri also have snails named after them. Scientist Dr Lorelle Stanisic says she didn’t want Robert to feel left out.

“My husband John, who’s known as The Snail Whisperer, was telling Terri [Irwin] all about how he was in the middle of naming this cute little snail after Bindi,” Dr. Stanisic told ABC News. “I took one look at Robert’s face, Robert didn’t say a word, you could tell like all brothers he was thinking, ‘oh gosh she’s getting a snail’.

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“I said, ‘it’s all right, Robert, I’ll name something after you.'”

Robert said in the video that he was happy to carry on this unique family tradition, calling it a “rite of passage in the Irwin family to have a snail named after you.”

“We love a snail in the Irwin family… Snails rule, what more is there to say?”

What an amazing honor! Congrats to Robert Irwin for having this new species of snail named after him!

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