South East Wales

Rare golden-eye lichen found in Aberdare by students

Golden-eye lichen Image copyright Dr Paul Smith
Image caption Golden-eye lichen was previously believed to be extinct in the UK

A rare lichen previously believed to be extinct in the UK has been discovered by postgraduate students on a field trip in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The students from the University of Bristol discovered the golden-eye lichen on the restored spoil heaps at Dare Valley Country Park in Aberdare.

It was later confirmed as a new species record for Wales.

Lichen is a cross between fungus and an algae.

Student Emma Burak, who first noticed the bright yellow specimen, said: "I have spotted four-leaf clovers in the past but never a rare lichen.

"It is very exciting but it has taken me some time to learn its proper name."

In 2005 golden-eye lichen was thought to be extinct in the UK but two years later it appeared in a Herefordshire orchard.

Since then it has popped up in various places along the south coast.

Coal waste is known to support unusual collections of animals and plants.

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