Slug discovery reveals valuable ancient Manx woodland

The Ash Black slug The ash black slug has been rediscovered in the Isle of Man after 100 years

The reappearance on the Isle of Man of one of the world's largest land slugs has confirmed the existence of ancient woodland, say experts.

The ash black slug, which is rare but widespread in both Britain and Ireland, can grow up to 30cm in length.

The slug was found recently by invertebrate expert, Keith Alexander, at a wood in Glen Auldyn.

Andree Dubbeldam of Manx Wildlife Trust said it was used by scientists as an indicator of ancient woodland.

He added: "This is a clear indicator that this site is one of the 30 relic woodland sites identified by the Wildflowers of Mann Project.

"These relic oak and hazel woodlands are the island's ancient woodlands, survivors of a time when woodland had been cleared from most of the island.

The ash black slug is dark grey in colour with a pale wavy crest running the length of its back.

The last recorded sighting in the Isle of Man was at Glen Auldyn in 1905.

The Manx Wildlife Trust said data shows there are about eight or nine sites on the island which contain very significant relic woodland features.

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