Slowly but surely, the abalone ‘locomotive’ Chilean has been advanced this Thursday with the title of Mollusc of the Year, following in the footsteps of the cuban painted snailwinner last year.
It was not beauty or physical prowess that won, but perhaps the gastronomic potential of the mollusk, very appreciated in Chile and Peru.
Versus four rivalssome with spectacular physical attributes, the ‘loco’ (concholepas concholepas) has won 42% of the votes in an international poll, organized by a German center for the study of genomic biodiversity (LOEWE).
The prize: deciphering the genome
Two years ago, this body organized the competition to raise awareness about the future of those animalsthreatened by the exploitation of marine resources and pollution.
As a prize, the abalone ‘crazy’ will have right to decryption of its genome by German experts, for the benefit of humanity.
Every year specialists from all over the world make a cradle between the more than 85,000 different species of molluscs that inhabit lands, rivers and seas of the Earth.
Five finalists then present their charms to the public. «We are proud. As you can imagine, the ‘loco’ is not the most attractive mollusk,» he declared. J. Antonio Baeza, a researcher at Clemson University in South Carolina (United States), who defended the candidacy of his delicate candidate. «Though he sure is tastier than a sea slug,» he added.
The other finalists were leopard slug (Limax maximus), un seashell (without shell) known as micromelo undatus, a giant oyster that lives at great depths and can live 500 years (Neopycnodonte zibrowii), and a horned sea slug (Hermissenda crassicornis).
Mollusks have existed for more than 500 million years, and after insects, they represent the largest animal subdivision on the planet.