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The name of this hammerhead flatworm is taken from COVID-19

Scientists have recently discovereda new species of hammerhead flatworm. The latter is reminiscent of a cobra of reduced size because of its morphology. Specialists have found these invertebrates north of italy and in the South West of France. The name of the latter is inspired by that of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why this reference to Covid-19?

Researchers have named the first newly identified species Humbertium covidumCovidum being a denominative directly drawn of the Covid-19 pandemic. It would be a “Tribute to the many victims of the pandemic”. They also have added that a major part of their work was carried out during the periods of confinement.

“Due to the pandemic, most of us were at home and our lab was closed. No field expedition was possible. I convinced my colleagues to gather all the information we had on these flatworms, to do the computer analysis, and finally to write this very long article. »

Jean-Lou Justine, lead author of the study and professor at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, in a press release

What are these new hammerhead flatworms?

Hammerhead flatworms are generally found in Asia, in the hottest areas. However, they are most often accidentally transported into the earth by humans through the plant trade. According to LiveScience, these invertebrates are problematic because they can harm both the environment and the economy. Indeed, they can give birth to offspring in the absence of a partner, explaining why they are characterized as invasive.

Specialists have discovered the second species, Diversibipalium mayottensis, in Mayottea French island off the east coast of Africa.

The morphology and anatomy of these invertebrates particularly aroused their interest. They thus carried out genetic analyzes in order to expressly describe the new species.

Hammerhead flatworms can reach more than 40 cm long. However, the new invertebrates measure about 3 centimeters on average. This considerable size difference may explain why researchers somewhat discounted these new species at first.


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