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Natural Sciences & Environment Dedicated to the study of our natural world. Discuss physical and life sciences, environmental and nature conservation.

Beer Slug Rediscovered in Hamburg

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Old Friday, April 14th, 2017   #1
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Beer Slug Rediscovered in Hamburg

'Beer slug' that was thought to be extinct 80 YEARS ago makes a surprise return to Hamburg's red light district

After 80 years undercover, a 'beer slug' caused quite a stir when it reappeared in Hamburg's infamous red light district.

The creature was last sighted in 1935 - years before the start of World War Two - and experts believed the species had become extinct.

Historically the slug was a popular feature of Hamburg's city centre - usually found in moist basements where beer was brewed.

For the past eighty years, Hamburg's 'beer slug' has been on the 'red list' of endangered species and was believed to be either extinct or lost.

On Tuesday the University of Hamburg announced that the mysterious slug had been spotted in the St. Pauli and Grindelviertel districts of Hamburg's red light zone.

The creature, which is also known as the 'cellar slug' in English, used to be a common feature of Hamburg's underworld.

The beer slug is about ten centimetres long and is distinguished by its patchy yellow-green colour and blue-grey feelers.

The species prefers moist, dark habitats such as basements and storerooms and was famously found in underground beer cellars.

It was commonly found in the 19th century but then numbers started to decline.

Due to renovations and the destruction of Hamburg's more unhygienic brewing spots the slug was seen less and less until 1935 until it was seen no more.

'Furthermore there was the problem of detecting [the slug] because the beer slug likes to hide and rarely comes out before 10pm,' said lead researcher Dr. Marco T. Neiber, a zoologist and malacologist at the University's Center of Natural History.

Outside of an appearance in Berlin in 2015, Hamburg is the only German big city where the slug has been identified in recent years.

Dr Neiber, who has published proof of the find in the journal 'Mitteilungen der deutschen malakozoologischen Gesellschaft', said the frost-sensitive species could be a 'winner of climate change'.

It was also sighted in 2015 in the courtyard of a hostel off Reeperbahn street in St. Pauli, however it was not officially identified.

Less severe winters will likely lead to fewer of the species dying during the winter months.

'Nevertheless, such a species for Germany as a whole should still be classified as highly endangered because its suitable habitat is becoming scarce in populated areas through renovations', he said.
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