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One of World’s Rarest Millipedes had been found in NPT Country Park

How exciting, a millipede so rare it is “new to science” has been found at one of the Neath Port Talbot country parks.

The millipede, Turdulisoma cf turdulorum (it does not yet have an official common name) was discovered during a Halloween “Bug Hunt” this year at Craig Gwladus Country Park, near Cilfrew, Neath.

An expert leader of the Halloween Bug Hunt found this creature and it has been identified as being so rare it is only ever been found on three other sites in the world. The photo above shows Turdulisoma cf turdulorum (bottom) shown for comparison next to a Leptorulus belgicus. (Credit Photo Source Neath Port Talbot Council Website)

This rare millipede was discovered by Buglife Cymru and Neath Port Talbot Council staff during the organised event which also involved local residents at Craig Gwladus.

The ultra-rare species was first found in woodland near Aberkenfig, Bridgend, in 2017 by local millipede expert Christian Owen and was subsequently confirmed as a species new to science by Dr Jörg Spelda at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Germany.

Craig Gwladus Country Park is now just the third known site in the world for this millipede with all of the other known sites being in South Wales. This millipede was found at Craig Gwladus amongst leaf litter and under old wood along the former Gelliau Colliery Tramroad at the park.

Liam Olds of Buglife Cymru said: “Coal tips, tramroads and other landscape features associated  with Wales’s rich coal mining heritage have become very important places for rare and scarce animal and plant species, especially invertebrates. Discoveries such as this highlight the importance of such sites and why they need to be conserved.”

“As the species is ‘new to science’, we know nothing about it! It could be a native species that has been previously overlooked because, so few people record invertebrates in South Wales, or it could have been an introduced species from abroad. We will probably never know for certain though!”

Councillor Annette Wingrave, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development said: “The discovery of this rare creature shows just how much there is to discover in our local woodlands and country parks.”


Craig Gwladus Country Park

Craig Gwladus Country Park is located on wooded hillside with fab views of the lower Neath Valley, and is enjoyed by many families using the marked forest footpaths. The park has picnic areas, strange rock formations, rushing streams, pretty brooks and the remains of lots of old levels, drift mines and tram roads. It provides a home for flora, birds and other wildlife, and kids will love spotting all the trees that carved out tiny wooden fairy doors on them. There is parking on site, however just be mindful that the gates are locked at 6pm each evening.

If you’re looking to visit with the family its about 2 miles north of Neath, here is the address Craig Gwladus Country Park, Penscynor, Aberdulais, Neath, Neath Port Talbot, SA10 8LG.




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