A part-time staff member for Charleston County parks and North Carolina State University student was credited with discovering a new species of millipede at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel.
Tess Moody, park of the county’s nature interpretation team, first spotted the creepy crawly in June 2018. She snapped a photo and posted it to an online forum for entomologists for identification, but Moody was soon contacted by Dr. Jackson Means from Virginia Tech who thought it could be a previously unknown species.
“It is incredibly rare to discover a new species in this thoroughly explored region,” said Keith McCullough, natural history interpretation coordinator. “But, it is no surprise that Tess, or other members of our Interpretation staff, would be the ones to do it.”
It was another two years down the line before Means and Moody were able to find the millipede again, in June 2020. The second discovery confirmed the bug was not found in scientific literature, marking it as a brand new discovery.
Moody has naming rights for the new species, which belongs to the genus Pleuroloma alongside four other species, the most recent discovery of which had been in 1980. Moody said she may choose something along the lines of “harenae” for the name, which means “sand.”
Caw Caw Interpretive Center was once part of several rice plantations, where enslaved Africans applied their technology and skills in agriculture to construct rice fields out of cypress swamps. It is now operated as a low-impact wildlife preserve managed for waterfowl, songbirds, otters, deers and more.