Australia's Gift To Sir David Attenborough Is A Little Bit Slimy

The living legend has had a new genus of Tasmanian snail named after him.

08/02/2017 10:32 AM AEDT | Updated 08/02/2017 4:20 PM AEDT
Sir David Attenborough is now the namesake of an endangered snail.

Sir David Attenborough has been bestowed a peculiar honour at the Australian Museum in Sydney on Wednesday -- an endangered genus of snail has been named after him.

The 90-year-old documentary maker is in Australia for new live show A Quest For Life and the museum took the opportunity to surprise him with a very pretty red and green snail, found in a small forest in Tasmania, that will now be called 'Attenborougharion rubicundus'.

Simon Grove / Museum and Art Galleries, Tasmania
What do you get a man who has everything?

The great man himself admitted he wasn't sure how to say the snail's name for a very good reason.

"I'm not really sure how you pronounce 'Attenborough'," he said.

"I mean I cheat I say 'Atten-brrr' and the Americans call it 'Atten-borrow' so I'm not too sure about my own name let alone this splendid slug."

There is no one else -- you have no peer.Catherine Livingstone

Australian Museum Trust President Catherine Livingstone AO also awarded Attenborough a lifetime patron award, saying his contribution to the environment was unprecedented.

"There is no one else -- you have no peer," Livingstone said in a statement.

"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."

Attenborough said the admiration was mutual.

"This is the Australian Museum and that's significant because when it was founded 190 years ago, it was the first natural history museum on this continent and I don't need to tell you this continent is unique in the natural world," he said.

"When the scientists and the naturalists came here they saw things that blew their mind -- more so than the greater North America, more so than going to India -- this was a unique continent and this, the first natural history museum, took on the role of chronicling it."

What do we know about Attenborougharion rubicundus?

Attenborougharion rubicundus was discovered in December 2016 and is found only on the Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas in Tasmania.

The total known extent of occurrence of this species is 85 m2, leading to its listing as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Simon Grove / Museum and Art Galleries, Tasmania
Attenborougharion rubicundus lives in a very small habitat.

In addition to its restricted range, Attenborougharion rubicundus inhabits only closed wet forests and is not found in dry forests or damp forests, making it vulnerable to habitat loss through the effects of climate change as well as habitat destruction through changed land usage.

Source: Australian Muesum

While at the museum, Attenborough also surprised a school group, sitting down to answer students' questions.

Sir David Attenborough -- A Quest for Life's eight-night tour is sold out across the nation.

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