Pink Slug Discovered On Australia's Mount Kaputar: How Rare Is Bizarre Creature? [PHOTO]

By Philip Ross on May 31, 2013 11:04 AM EDT

pink slug
A pink slug, discovered in Australia, is a rare and bizarre creature. It can measure up to 8 inches long and eats moss and mold that grow on trees. (Photo: Flickr/SteveR-)

A pink slug, discovered in Australia's Mount Kaputar National Park, looks more like a creature from the fictitious planet Pandora than an actual invertebrate. The fluorescent pink slug, which can measure nearly 8 inches long, is indigenous to the dewy mountain region, and can't be spotted anywhere else on Earth.

Mount Kaputar National Park, where locals encountered the bizarre pink slug, is located about 350 miles northwest of Sydney in the Australian state of New South Wales. Once an active volcano, the 5,000-foot-tall Mount Kaputar was formed from a massive explosion about 17 million years ago.

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In a country of mostly desert, grassland and temperate landscapes, Mount Kaputar is an oasis of lush vegetation -- an isolated anchorage of dense forest where bizarre life forms like the pink slug thrive. From TreeHugger:

Scientists believe that the distinct biodiversity of this particular region are living relics from a bygone era, when Australia was lush with rainforests, connected to a greater landmass called Gondwana. As volcanic activity and other geological changes over millions of years transformed the landscape into one more arid, Mount Kaputar and its inhabitants were spared.

''It's just one of those magical places, especially when you are up there on a cool, misty morning,'' Michael Murphy, a park ranger for the wildlife sanctuary, told the Sydney Morning Herald. The New South Wales Scientific Committee has even designated it an endangered ecological community, which protects the area from development and intrusion.

According to Murphy, the pink slug buries itself in the decaying undergrowth of the wet, alpine forest, and rise from the earth at night by the hundreds to feed on the mold and moss that grow on the trees. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the pink slug discovered in Australia's forest only exists in a 6 mile by 6 mile block of land -- an area smaller than Manhattan.

The isolated region is also home to many other strange species of invertebrates, like the cannibalistic snail. These carnivorous creatures hunt and devour other snails by tracking their slime trails.

To see more photos of the pink slug discovered in Australia's remote Mount Kaputar National Park, click here.

Read more from iScience Times:

Bat-Eating Spiders In your Backyard? New Study Says They're Closer Than You Think [VIDEO]

Tiny 'Alien' Skeleton Discovered In Chile: DNA Analysis Reveal Shocking Identity Of Skeleton; Is It Human? [PHOTOS] [VIDEO]

Giant African Snail: All About The Hermaphroditic, Baseball-Sized Pest Found In Australia

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