Thursday, December 4, 2008

Slugs and slugs and slugs

Well, I have loved slugs for quite some time. A good friend of mine also shares this love of slugs, so it seems a good idea to create a substantial post of slug pix. This one is for J-Bax.

Slugs are basically snails that do not have shells. For our purposes, we refer to terrestrial (land) snails. The adaptation of shellessness (I refuse to put 3 L's in there) has arisen in multiple families of land snails, usually for species that tend to travel through undergrowth. Presumably, the shells would be a hindrance to passage amongst dense vegetation. As well, slugs are hermaphrodites, meaning they possess both male and female sexual organs. This provides for some interesting mating situations.

Here's our VOCAB ALERT for the day: Polyphyletic, meaning that a group or designation like "slug" is actually found in several different taxonomic groups. Again, slugs are found in several different families of terrestrial snails.


Ghost Slug (Selenochlamys ysbryda)

Discovered in Wales in 2006, only described
scientifically this year, it is believed to have
been introduced into Wales, but from where
is a mystery.

This is a predatory species, feeding on worms.


There are actually 3 species of slugs that are
referred to as Banana Slug, all in the genus

Banana slugs are the largest species of slug

2 Banana Slugs mating

Banana slugs range from bright yellow to
brown and can be spotted, as well.

They are found in the Pacific North West of
the United States and in Canada, from
northern CA to Central British Columbia


Red Slug (Arion rufus)

As you can tell, the "red" slug actually comes
in a variety of colors.

Although European, this species is now
found in the Northeast and Northwestern
United States through introduction.

Leopard Slug or Great Gray Slug

Limax maximus

European slug, again that has also been
introduced in to the United States

Leopard slugs mate by hanging from
a thread of mucous

The slugs then both protrude their
penises and impregnate each other.

LOL Slugs?

Black Velvet Leatherleaf Slug

Angustipes ameghini

Introduced to the U.S. from South America

Velvet Slugs mating

Black Slug

Arion ater - Europe

White phase

Brown phase

I can has rotten mushroomz now?


The Spanish Slug (Arion lustanicus) eating

Gaeotis flavolineata retains just a small
bit of shell in its body

Gaeotis - Puerto Rico

Slug anatomy

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