Saturday, August 20, 2016

Coastal BC Animals: Black Slug

 Black Slug

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

24 comments:

  1. I got lucky this year, saw some slugs, I would pick them and throw them as far as I could. I lost a few outer leaves but for the most part ,they barely touched my garden. Had lots of very tiny ones this year, they really liked the red cabbage.

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    1. I get the tiny ones in my garden. The eggs must have come in with seedlings I've purchased in town. - Margy

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  2. I have never seen a slug quite like this before. Very interesting post, thanks for the info on them.

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    1. They were introduced from Europe so they aren't everywhere (fortunately). - Margy

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  3. Hello!:) An interesting read, but I could never touch a slug, not even to see it sway from side to side.:) We have the occasional one in the garden, but hubby deals with this situation.

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    1. The tops aren't slimy like the bottom. - Margy

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  4. Hello, the black slug is new to me. Their typical food sounds better than eating garden plants. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Even in the forest I don't see them very often. - Margy

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  5. Ever neat! We don't have a lot around here. Well, there IS a drought!

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    1. It says they are only in BC, Quebec and Newfoundland. Not sure why. - Margy

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  6. I have never heard of a black slug.We have lots of the other kind here in Pa,thanks for sharing the info. phyllis

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    1. They probably can eat a lot, but at least they stay in the shade and away from garden. - Margy

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  7. I haven't seen one of these in a little big time, but I am happy that you were kind to the creature. Nice demonstration of how they protect themselves!
    Have a Happy Weekend!
    Peace :)

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    1. They are so slow they are probably are always in danger of being plucked up by a larger creature. - Margy

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  8. I've seen the banana slugs - the brown slugs - but not the black - so far. Great info.

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    1. Did you know that the mascot of Santa Cruz University is the banana slug? - Margy

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    1. There are so many small things to find if you take the time. - Margy

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  10. nice n bright picture of the slug.. but slugs are wrecking havoc in my garden.. :(....

    please visit: http://from-a-girls-mind.blogspot.com

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    1. Mine too, but the little gray ones. - Margy

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  11. Thank you for sharing this interesting critter with us! We don't have that slug here on the east coast. I am glad, because 18 cm is a bit too big for my liking. I'd probably feed it to the chickens if I found it. Nevertheless, it was interesting to read about it and see the pictures!

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  12. Interesting. I've never heard of these kinds of slugs before.

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  13. We have many different types of slugs nd we do live at the edge of a forest----where they love to live as you know.
    so ick. I just pick them up and throw them into smithereens!


    MB

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  14. In Sweden we have a brown colored variety called "mördarsnigel" - killer snail. It destroys the plants in my garden.

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