Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 18:34 UK

Ghost slug in top 10 new species

Ghost slug
The ghost slug lives underground and has no eyes

A white, worm-eating slug discovered in south Wales has been listed as one of the top 10 new species in the world.

It features on an annual list of new species announced by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.

The "ghost" slug, which was first discovered in a Cardiff garden in 2007, was named by experts at National Museum Wales and Cardiff University.

Creatures of this type are more usually found in Turkey and Georgia.

The list of new species described in 2008 also includes a snail whose shell twists around four axes, a pea-sized seahorse and a palm that flowers itself to death.

Unlike most slugs, the ghost slug is carnivorous, and kills earthworms at night with powerful, blade-like teeth, sucking them in like spaghetti.

It has no eyes or bodily colouring and lives underground.

Tahina palm
Insect from Phasmatidae family
Satomi's pygmy seahorse
Barbados threadsnake
Ghost slug
Snail with four coiling axes
Deep blue chromis
Mother fish
Charrier coffee
Bacteria discovered in hairspray
Source: The International Institute for Species Exploration, Arizona State University

Scientists have given the creature a partially Welsh name, Selenochlamys ysbryda, or ghost (ysbryd) slug.

Ben Rowson, a biologist at National Museum Cardiff, who first studied the slug, said: "The name seemed appropriate for this spooky, nocturnal hunter and indicates where it was first found.

"We think this is the first time a Welsh word has been used in an animal's scientific name."

The origin of the ghost slug, and its route into Britain, is completely unknown, and specimens have not been seen in Europe before it was discovered in Cardiff.

Another was was spotted in nearby Caerphilly.

National Museum Wales has produced a simple identification guide, available from its website, to help monitor the slug's spread.

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