There's lots of moss, sticks, leaves and other debris lying on the forest floor. That's called duff. I found this slimy visitor taking advantage of this buffet of blow down.
Slugs are in phylum mollusca and genus gastropoda. The Black Slug (Arion ater) is from Europe, but was introduced into British Columbia in 1941 and has been considered a serious pest since 1962. They can grow up to 18 cm, pretty big for the slug world.
They are characteristically black in colour, have tentacles (eyes and sensory organs) at the front, and tubercles (rough projections) on their back. They have the distinction of being hermaphroditic and can self-fertilize. This makes reproduction quick and easy. They start at about three months and lay about 150 small round eggs at a time. During their 1-2 year lifespan, they can produce a tremendous amount of offspring, and so on, and so on, if you get my drift. That is one of the reasons they are such a tremendous pest.
|Touch one and they roll up into a ball and sway from side to side.|
I haven't found any in my garden, only up on the cliff or out in the forest along shady trails. They typically feast on feces, dead animals, fungi, algae, lichens and decomposing plant matter. That sounds pretty beneficial, but they also enjoy ingesting live plants and can dramatically alter the ecosystem. Eradication is near impossible, with mechanical removal the most successful method. That may work in a small garden, but not in the open forest. I guess that means they're here to stay. -- Margy