Land snail species named after Dungeons & Dragons character 'Shar'

Shar, the Mistress of the Night, has a namesake: a small newly discovered land snail found in a cave in Brazil. Researchers have dubbed the small critter Gastrocopta sharae, with those who made the discovery explaining, "It's a fitting name for a tiny snail that lives hidden in the dark recesses of a cavern ... Usually biologists tend to honor Greek and Roman deities when naming species, but the goddess Shar has a more colorful background."

The research team is composed of Dr. Rodrigo Salvador, Dr. Luiz Simone, and Daniel Cavallari, a trio hailing from Brazil's Zoology Museum of Sao Paulo and the Natural History Museum of Stuttgart. The team has been researching the small creatures found in Brazilian caves, and perhaps the smallest of them all is this new mollusk, Sharae, measuring only about 2mm in size.

The snail is one amongst many tropical land snails, a variety of mollusk that in general isn't terribly well understood. Little else is known about this new species at the moment, except that it is found within caves. It is most notable due to its name, though it's not the only creature to be named after a Dungeons & Dragons character.

Back in 2014, this same team of researchers found another small — and different — snail, naming it after the game's character Umberlee, commander of the sea. As you've probably guessed, that's because the then-new snail species was found within the Atlantic Ocean.

SOURCE: EurekAlert