Saturday, 12 July 2008

New species

I honestly can't remember the last time a new species of invertebrate was found in the UK (excluding bacteria from the definition). That makes it quite an event when something as significant as a slug is found, sort of the British equivalent of the Vu Quang ox.

The slug was described by specialists at the National Museum of Wales and Cardiff University, who named it Selenochlamys ysbryda, after ysbryd, the Welsh word for ghost. The beast is subterranean, lacking pigmentation and blind. It spends its time eating earthworms.

Sadly though, S. ysbryda is probably not native to the UK, as its nearest relatives live in the mountains of eastern Europe, Georgia and eastern Turkey. Because it may have invaded British shores, the National Museum of Wales are seeking any additional records, to see how widespread it is, and have provided an identification guide.

More information can be found at the National Museum of Wales website and BBC News.

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