Rare Species Named After Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin


Last year we told you about a turtle named after Steve Irwin. Now yet another species, described in the following Queensland Museum release, has been named after the popular television host, wildlife expert and conservationist, who died in 2006.

Queensland Museum scientist Dr John Stanisic has named a rare

species of tree snail discovered in north Queensland in honor of

wildlife advocate and conservationist Steve Irwin.

The snail, Crikey steveirwini, was found in the mountainous regions of north Queensland's Wet Tropics near Cairns.

(Image: Queensland Museum)

Honorary Research Fellow Dr Stanisic said that like its namesake, the Crikey steveirwini is a unique creature with some interesting qualities that set it apart from other land snails.

"This is an extremely rare species of snail," Dr Stanisic said.

"So far it has only been found in three locations, all on the

summits of high mountains in far north Queensland and at altitudes

above 1,000 meters which is quite unusual for Australian land snails.

"These mountainous habitats will be among the first to feel the

effects of climate change and Steve Irwin's tree snail could become a

focal species for monitoring this change.

"In contrast with its more drab coloured ground-dwelling relatives, Crikey steveirwini

is a colorful snail, with swirling bands of creamy yellow,

orange-brown and chocolate giving the shell an overall khaki appearance.

"It was the khaki color that immediately drew the connection to the late Crocodile Hunter," Dr Stanisic said.

Dr Stanisic will present a commemorative certificate to the Irwin

family this Sunday 15 November as part of Steve Irwin Day celebrations

at Australia Zoo. He will also talk about his discovery and have some Crikey steveirwini snail shells on hand for visitors to see.

Steve Irwin's wife Terri Irwin said Steve would have been delighted

to have a new species bear both his name and his signature catch cry.

"Steve worked tirelessly to promote conservation, wildlife and the

environment and his work enabled the plight of endangered species to

reach a whole new audience," Ms Irwin said.

"Steve also had a long history of collaborating with staff at the

Queensland Museum and I'm sure he would be pleased to know his name is

continuing to highlight a rare and endangered Queensland species."

Steve Irwin was awarded the Museum's highest accolade in 2003 – the

Queensland Museum Medal – for his exceptional contribution to the

understanding and appreciation of Australian wildlife at an

international level and his commitment and passion to conservation and

the environment.

The discovery of the Crikey steveirwini was announced

publicly in Dr Stanisic's paper published in the online scientific

journal, Zootaxa. The full paper can be accessed at www.mapress.com/zootaxa/taxa/Mollusca.html.

Crikey steveirwini

'Steve Irwin's Tree Snail'

Species profile: Crikey steveirwini Stanisic, 2009

Etymology: In memory of the late Steve Irwin, wildlife warrior, environmental educator and Queensland Museum medallist.

Holotype: QMMO 78184, Mount Spurgeon, 7 km north,

16°22'S, 145°13'E, altitude 1250 m. Collected by G.B. Monteith, H.

Janetzki, L. Roberts, 19 October 1991.

Description: Shell medium-sized, yellowish cream

to creamy brown with dark chocolate-brown spiral bands of various

widths, turbinate with a very high spire; whorls rounded, sutures

weakly impressed; protoconch with vague radial ridges to smooth,

teleoconch with weak radial growth threads and incised spiral striae;

lip weakly thickened, brown; imperforate; height to 15mm.

Distribution: Central Wet Tropics (uplands), North East Queensland.

Key localities: Mt Lewis; Mt Spurgeon; Lambs Head, West of Edmonton.

Habitat and ecology: Rainforest; arboreal living on leaves on trees.


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