Posted by Graeme Lyons , Thursday, 25 February 2016 19:37
Last Sunday we went to South Wales to see some slugs. Seriously. This part of the world, thanks to Christian 'Sparrow' Owen, has become a bit of PSLers pilgrimage of late, with some people going back three times to get their fix! I actually don't know how many new species I saw on Sunday, I lost count. I do know that I quadrupled my slug list.
Until last Sunday, I hated slugs. Both physically and taxonomically but thanks to Christian, I am now rather fond of them. I can't state enough how impressive a naturalist Christian is, I don't think he has left a stone unturned in South Wales. He's found two species new to the UK (including the cracking Alsatian Semi-slug Daudebardia rufa above, who wears his shell like a flat cap and is the size of an Alsatian) within a few miles of his house by adopting this approach and his knowledge of myriapods and molluscs is impressive. He was the real star of the day and I am very grateful for the time he gave us, great company and a cracking teacher. Here he is on the left, King of the Edgelands. There I am on the right experiencing my nth new mollusc; bewildered, soaked and slug-blind but loving every minute! (thanks for the photo Tony).
Would you believe it, the photo above is of Ghost Slug habitat. And here is one in all its glory. Impressive hey?! These are actually the spirits of other species of dead slug that have unfinished business in this world. This particular individual was murdered by his best friend and has come back to seek revenge. Heartbreaking and haunting in equal measure, I'm sure you'll agree. The sense of loss is profound.
Some of the above was rubbish. Also there I saw my first ever Worm Slug (below). And my first Tree, Hedgehog and Tramp Slugs! I'm not even gonna start with the Arions!
Later on we went to a woodland site where we saw the Lemon Slug. Quite the looker!
Now I think this cool harvestman, a real specialist of the area, was perhaps my favourite species of the day. This is Sabacon viscayanum subsp. ramblaianum. Check out the funky palps.
And the myriapods! This is Lithobius pilicornis, I think it's out biggest centipede and it totally bit Christian before we got it in this pot! What a beast.
And there are some interesting millipedes recently found new to the UK, such as this Hylebainosoma nontronensis.
And this one that Christian found new to the UK a while ago that doesn't even have a name yet! I reckon Gavin. Or maybe Stacey. Anyways, it was an amazing day and I'm so glad that I finally have a foot in the door with slugs. Happy days!