Ideal for Slugs!

Monday, July 24th 2017

The rather damp recent weather had encouraged the slugs to cross the paths and be ever present on the path sides. We have a fair few slug varieties on the reserve, the most numerous appears to be the Large Black Slug , Arion ater.

This slug belongs to a species that is so complex that can only be differentiated by dissecting the genitalia. There are three species in this complex (Arion ater group): Arion ater, A. rufus and A. vulgaris. These slugs species range from 75-180 mm in length at maturity. They may be dark brown, black, orange or reddish in colour. The juveniles of these species have an even wider range of colours and can be distinguished from mature adults by the presence of lateral stripes.

Slugs are hermaphrodites; they have both male and female genitalia hidden under their mantels. When they come together, like these above, they exchange sperm and fertilise each other’s eggs, quite often in an entwined embrace. If you find round clusters of small round eggs under logs, or at the base of your garden vegetables in the soil it is sure to be that of the slug!


 


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