Mysterious Beasts Discovered Near Loch Ness

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A creature with a long, snake-like body, many legs and a voracious appetite was recently discovered near Loch Ness in northern Scotland. No, it wasn’t Nessie, the infamous Loch Ness monster. This newly discovered creature would only terrorize a leaf. It was a sawfly larvae, which resembles a caterpillar.

The new species of sawfly was one of the eight previously undiscovered species found by a biological survey of Dundreggan Estate in Scotland, reported Sky News. The other species were an aphid, two types of aphid parasites, three fungus gnats and a type of mite.

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The new species join a list of more than 2,800 plants and animals cataloged at the 10,000-acre Dundreggan Estate in the County of Inverness, Scotland. The rugged highland landscape of the region is home to 20 mammals, 269 plants, 341 lichens, 92 birds, 354 beetles, 207 moths and 125 sawflies.

Studies related to a reforestation effort by the conservation group Trees for Life cataloged the species, 67 of which are now considered priorities for conservation.

“The surprisingly rich variety of life at Dundreggan highlights the vital importance of conservation work, and of protecting and enhancing habitats across the Highlands,” Trees for Life’s executive director Alan Watson Featherstone said in Sky News.”The discoveries are not only demonstrating that the estate is a special site for biological diversity; they are also revealing that there is still much to learn about Scotland’s biodiversity.”

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Trees for Life has been working to restore 1,000 square miles (2,590 square kilometers) of the Caledonian Forest on Dundreggan Estate. The Caledonian Forest once covered much of northern Scotland, but has been reduced to less than one percent of its original area. That remnant represents the western-most extension of the vast boreal forests that came to dominate northern Eurasia after the last Ice Age.

IMAGE: A Nessie-like statue (Paul Hermans, Wikimedia Commons)