Charleston County Parks Interpretation Staff Member Discovers a New Species

On June 28, 2018, part-time Nature Interpretation staff member Tess Moody stumbled across a small millipede with a uniquely marked appearance at Caw Caw Interpretive Center. She very thoughtfully took a photo of it so that she might try to identify it later. She posted the image to an online forum to which entomologists from all over North America contribute. Very quickly, Dr. Jackson Means of Virginia Tech noticed the image and reached out to Tess. To this millipede specialist, it immediately seemed like something special!

Dr. Means and Tess made multiple attempts to find the millipede at Caw Caw without success. Then, on June 13, 2020, Tess again found a specimen at Caw Caw. This helped to confirm that the millipede indeed was previously undescribed in the scientific literature. The millipede belongs to the genus Plueroloma, and Tess will have naming rights to the species name. She has indicated that she may choose something along the lines of “harenae” which means “sand,” a reflection of its texture and habitat preference.

It is incredibly rare to discover a new species in this thoroughly explored region, but it is no surprise that Tess or other members of CCPRC’s Interpretation staff would be the ones to do it.

 

Kristina Wheeler, Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission