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Rare fungus found in Wales for first time; DISCOVERY OF BOVISTA PALUDOSA ONLY FIFTH RECORDED FIND IN UK.

Byline: RHODRI BARKER Daily Post Reporter rhodri.barker@trinitymirror.com

A RARE fungus previously unknown in Wales has been found during a survey of 200 of the country's most important bog and fen sites.

The dicovery of Fen Puffball (or Bovista paludosa), only the fifth example of the fungus recorded in the UK, has been heralded as "exciting" by Natural Resources Wales experts.

Sam Bosanquet, a senior vegetation ecologist for NRW, said: "The detailed surveys of peatlands in Wales often reveal rare and unusual species, and it was during one of these the team made the exciting discovery."

He said finding the puffball in Mynydd Epynt, Powys, was an "added bonus", as it is the first time it has been found in Wales.

"It is extremely rare and only five examples have ever been recorded in the UK," he added.

"Such is its rarity that the Fen Puffball is named on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities list as a UK priority conservation species.

"Although there are more than 30 British puffball species, the fen habitat of Bovista paludosa is distinctive and its rarity reflects the lack of fen vegetation in southern Britain. It's not often that UK priority conservation species completely new to Wales are discovered, and this find helps highlight the interesting and varied nature of the work our expert ecologists do whilst gathering evidence for NRW.

"In the last eight years, the team has discovered the fungi Bog Earth-tongue (Geoglossum sphagnophilum) for the first time in Britain at a site in Gwynedd, and the Bog Jellydisk (Sacroleotia turficola) for the first time in Wales in Carmarthenshire."

Mr Bosanquet, the NRS's lead officer on fungus conservation, said the National Peatland Survey had looked at the benefits of good quality peatlands to people, the economy and wildlife.

He said: "It is an important habitat for nature, stores millions of gallons of water to help reduce flooding, and stores carbon which helps to combat climate change.

"Surveying these peatlands is important work, as they deliver so many hidden benefits for society.

"Whether it is regulating our river flows, storing carbon or simply as a fantastic place to visit, we have to make sure they are in good condition."

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 14, 2014
Words:382
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