Five species of velvet roundworms – or nematodes – were found in and around the Garden Route National Park, and they are thriving here. The discovery of these worms was made by a team of independent researchers from the University of Stellenbosch.
According to IOL, the researchers focused on the areas of Diepwalle, Goudveld, Groeneweide, Garden of Eden (Harkerville), and the Wilderness (Brown Hooded Kingfisher trail, Beervlei, Half Collared Kingfisher Trail, Woodville Big tree). Outside of the Park, they focused on Witfontein, Homtini, Tulbagh and Robinson’s Pass.
The velvet worm only thrives in “pristine conditions”, where they live with the rotting logs of Afrotemperate forests.
The researchers embarked on a study, where they revise information that was previously collected through the sampling of Cape species of the velvet roundworm. However, the previous study only collected eight samples.
The latest study has collated data from 110 samples, and through this, five new species were found.
Researchers expected to find three isolated species at most but were pleasantly surprised when they found five distributed among various forest patches.