London: Scientists in the UK have discovered an entirely new species of flatworm which has 60 eyes in a body just 12 mm long.
The creature was found in grassland near Cambridge, with biologists believing it was a "completely new, undescribed species", a newspaper reported.
The peculiar invertebrate is thought to be of antipodean descent, often used to refer to Australia and New Zealand, but also a close relative of a species found in Northern Ireland called Kontikia Andersoni.
Biologist Dr Hugh Jones, a scientific associate of the Natural History Museum, said he had only seen one other example of a similar worm, a single specimen discovered in the Netherlands in April.
The 60-eyed worm was discovered by Brian Eversham, chief executive of the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
"It is likely to be a close relative of a species found in Northern Ireland called Kontikia andersoni," Eversham said.
"Britain is one of the best countries for documenting wildlife so it's quite unusual to find a species here which has not been seen before," he was quoted by the paper as saying.
"New Zealand seems to be the centre of diversity for land flatworms worldwide, and its climate is very similar to Britain," he added.
First Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 13:27